Kolkata: In order to protect critically-endangered vultures from being extinct, a Vulture Safe Zone (VSZ) would be created in Madhya Pradesh`s Bundelkhand, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) officials said today.
A MoU in this regard was signed today in between the BNHS, BirdLife International and mining company Rio Tinto in Mumbai, they said.
BNHS has already identified a 30,000 sqkm-area for the proposed VSZ in Bundelkhand and assured that no diclofenac or other veterinary drugs, toxic to vultures, would be present in the carcasses there, the officials said.
The scavengers, which feed on animal carcasses, die because of the banned diclofenac drug which is still illegally administered to livestock.
Under the project, BNHS officials would work with local NGOs and the government in the proposed VSZ to spread awareness against using diclofenac and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in cattle carcasses.
Incidentally, the BNHS runs vulture conservation breeding centres in Haryana, West Bengal and Assam.
Classified as "critically-endangered" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, vulture`s population has declined at an alarming rate of over 99 per cent in the last two decades.
White-backed, long-billed and slender-billed are the three species of vultures found in the Bundelkhand region.
Crucial in our ecological cycle as scavengers, vultures have a digestive system robust enough to even digest disease-causing pathogens found in rotting meat of dead animals and thus help in the prevention of the outbreak of infectious diseases like anthrax, rabies.