Long-billed Vulture Chick, Ramanagara, Karnataka

Deepa Mohan
Heartening sight!

The welcome sight of a Long-billed Vulture chick on the crags of Ramanagara signal some hope for the augmentation of the very low population of this bird in the south of India. As of now, the number of Vultures at this location seem to have dwindled from thirteen, a year or two earlier, to only nine or ten. The painkiller chemical, Diclofenac, which is still not banned for human use, has decimated the population of Long-billed Vultures across the Indian subcontinent. Diclofenac causes kidney failure in Vultures. At Ramanagara, a further threat to these birds is posed by plans for a leisure resort proposed at a spot just under their nesting and roosting area. Environmentalists have, so far, successfully stalled this proposal, but it’s an ongoing struggle.

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