Restaurant in Sholay-land for Vultures

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Bangalore, Oct 30: The mega movie Sholay fame sleepy town of Ramanagaram in Karnataka will add another feather to its cap when a unique Restaurant is set up by the Karnataka Forest Department in a exclusive sanctuary of endangered long billed vulture.

The Ramdevara Betta, where the dreaded Gabbar Singh ruled the roost in the film Sholay and was famous for his powerful dialogue, including 'Kitne adme thee, Samba'' would soon become a feeding place for the Indian vultures, on the verge of extinction. and now birdwatchers will see, 'kitne vultures thee.' Called the vulture restaurant, it is part of the Forest Department's grand plan to set up an exclusive sanctuary that is aimed at conserving and fostering the vulture population in the state.

Sources in the Forest Department told UNI activities for such a unique eating place for the Indian vultures gathered momentum after a long billed vulture was spotted at Ramadevara Betta. Since then wildlife enthusiasts and forest department officials have spotted around 150 vultures indicating their return.

An area of about 20 sq km around the Ramadevara Betta has been earmarked for the sanctuary.

The Sanctuary would have a 'restaurant' where Vultures would feed on the carcasses of animals free from diclofenac chemicals, which is another threat to these birds. "Veterinarians were issuing medicines containing diclofenac for livestock in these areas. The chemical which stays active in the body of the dead animal for a week is dangerous for vultures which feed on the carcasses. But in this restaurant, special care would be taken as per the directives of the Supreme Court and the Union Ministry of Environment and diclofenac-free carcasses would be provided" sources added.

The concept, when implemented would be the second such of its kind in the country after an artificial breeding centre in Pinjore near Haryana. Places around Bangalore including Ramanagaram, Bannerghatta National Park, Mysore and Bellary were known for these species.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) B Srivastav said "there is a proposal to declare that area as sanctuary. Since the recent spotting of the bird, we have taken all measures to protect them and provide suitable habitat for their breeding. Vulture conservation efforts are on in other parts of the state too." In the last decade, the disappearance of vultures has caused widespread concern and the central government has taken measures to remedy the situation by ordering controls on the use of diclofenac.

UNI

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