— Dawn
— Dawn

DERA GHAZI KHAN: The Punjab Wildlife Department and the World Wildlife Fund have rescued and freed a rare vulture.

A rare vulture was spotted at Chak Sahuwala of Layyah’s Crore tehsil and the WWF information centre at Taunsa Barrage received information that a man had caught it.

On the order of Assistant Director Wildlife, a team reached the spot and released the vulture in the wild.

Zoologist Omer Waqas, a former activist of the WWF, told Dawn that there used to be a vulture colony starting from left bank upstream Taunsa Barrage and stretched along 25-30km up to Jaman Shah. The belt would have scattered nests of vultures.

A team of “Asian Vulture Crisis Project” used to collect critical data and keep scientific monitoring at that time. Another vulture colony used to exist at Mamdal site near Chenab river.

There is 99pc decline in vulture population. The drug diclofenac is one of the major causes of decline. A ban on this drug was sought later and an alternate drug Meloxicam was suggested for livestock.

Research revealed in 2004 that the livestock animals that had symptoms showed high levels of an anti-inflammatory drug called diclofenac in their systems.

This drug, when interacting with a vulture’s body chemistry, caused the crystals to form and, ultimately, caused kidney failure.

Vultures used to feed on those diclofenac treated dead livestock and which caused them kidney failure.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2022

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