By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, February 18: How can mecing stray dogs be kept away? Ask villagers of Bam Rajabari in Sivasagar, and they could float a really weird idea – poison a cattle carcass and hope that the dogs would feast on it.
The villagers tried this “trick” recently, but the result was unexpected and tragic.
A cow was reportedly killed by some stray dogs at the village. The owner, in vengeance, mixed poisonous substances in the carcass and left it in the open, hoping that the stray dogs will consume it.
However, unfortutely, hordes of vultures devoured the poisoned cattle carcass, resulting in the death of over 50 of them.
“Similar instances of poisoning of dead carcass of cattle have been seen at many places. I have persolly seen such cases in villages of Sivasagar and Jorhat,” Dr. Biswajit Boruah, of Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) said. And in most of the cases, vultures have fallen prey. At Bam Rajabari, however, a solitary bird was rescued from the brink of death by the Mobile Veteriry Service (MVS) unit of Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) that rushed to the Bam-Rajabari village. “We were shocked to find 19 White backed vultures, 3 Slender billed vultures and 29 Himalayan griffons dead on the site. It was an acute poisoning case. Post mortem samples and two whole carcasses were sent to Regiol Animal Health Center, Khapara for further toxicological investigation and confirmatory diagnosis,” recalls Dr. Biswajit Boruah.
Seeing the condition of the solitary bird fighting for its life, Dr. Boruah shifted the vulture after prelimiry treatment to the rescue centre at Kaziranga for further care and investigation.
Dr. Pradip Baishya, a local government veteririan, helped the Assam Forest Department and CWRC to save this one life from a scene that shook the conservation community.
With treatment and rehabilitation at CWRC, the vulture recovered well in three weeks and was able to behave normally, which led to the decision to release the bird back to its tive site by the CWRC team.
In this connection, a public awareness meeting was organised with stakeholders that included officials of the Assam Forest Department,
IFAW-WTI team from CWRC, Bam Rajabari Village Committee, Village Defence Party and the villagers prior to the vulture release on site yesterday. Suchan Ch Gogoi, ACF, Sivasagar said , “We are very happy that at least one vulture is saved and is being sent back to its home range.
It is the people of Bam Rajabari who should be appreciated for their effort to conserve the vulture nests in this area. The villagers feel that vultures are their friends and need to be protected. This kind of poisoning incident should be stopped for the greater interest of this endangered species.”
Villagers showed support for vulture conservation in the awareness meeting.
Prab Kachari, VDP Secretary, said, “We need to rethink for their conservation and work together to save these endangered birds.”
The Assam Forest Department with the help of the Bam Rajabari Village Committee and various conservation groups have been organising vulture conservation awareness programme in the larger periphery of Bam Rajabari village for the last few years.