Dhaka: There was a time when vultures were easily seen in villages. When an animal died, vultures flocked to eat its flesh. But day by day that scene fades. Known as nature’s cleaning animal, this animal is now difficult to see. According to the information of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate, this bird is on the verge of extinction not only in Bangladesh but also in the whole world. However, in spite of this situation, the number of vultures in Bangladesh has slightly increased. Especially among Asian countries, Bangladesh is ahead in protecting vultures.
Saturday (September 3) is International Vulture Awareness Day. The day is observed every year on the first Saturday of September to create awareness to save vultures. A discussion meeting was organized at the Forest Department to celebrate the day.
Minister of Environment and Forests said in the speech of the chief guest. Shahab Uddin said, ‘Bangladesh is the most advanced in Asia in taking steps to protect vultures. The country banned the vulture-harmful drug diclofenac in 2010, a first in Asia. After that another harmful drug Ketoprofen was also banned by the government. After the ban of ketoprofen, the use of safer drugs meloxicam and tolfamenic acid has started to increase, which is a significant step in the protection of vultures.
In this regard, the minister called upon all pharmaceutical companies to comply with the government directives to stop the production and marketing of harmful ketoprofen.
The minister said, ‘If any long-term science-based plan for vulture conservation comes to our ministry, it will be supported in its implementation.’
He further said that the formation of ‘Bangladesh National Vulture Conservation Committee’, the official declaration of two vulture safe zones and the ten-year (2016-2025) ‘Bangladesh Vulture Conservation Action Plan’ are serving as a long-term framework for protecting Bangladesh’s vultures. In the meantime, we have successfully completed many activities of the vulture conservation action plan and we are determined to complete the rest of the activities as well.
Forest Minister Shahab Uddin said, ‘The various effective decisions taken by the government in the 7th and 8th regional management committee meetings in 2017 and 2019 are serving as a milestone for the conservation of vultures in Bangladesh and South Asia. Special tags are made in the pattern of red-green flags to be attached to the vulture’s wings. In addition to these wing tags, this year there are plans to tag vultures through satellite tracking, a new technology. Through this activity, the movement of vultures in our country will be monitored which will play an important role in the conservation of vultures. For the sake of all of us, we must all commit to protecting the remaining vultures for the sake of protecting the environment.’
Deputy Minister Habibun Nahar and Additional Secretary (Administration) Iqbal Abdullah Haroon spoke as special guests on the occasion. Presided over by Chief Forest Conservator. Amir Hossain Chowdhury. Among others, Inam Al Haque, founder of Bangladesh Bird Club, Mukit Majumder Babu, Chairman of Nature and Life Foundation, Gobind Roy, Project Director of Sufal Project and Imran Ahmed, Conservator of Forests, Wildlife and Nature Reserve, etc. spoke. The keynote was presented by ABM Sarwar Alam, Senior Program Officer, IUCN Bangladesh.
In the event, the minister distributed prizes among the winners of the poster making competition organized among the students of various universities to create awareness about vulture conservation. Apart from Dhaka, discussions and rallies have been organized to celebrate the day in various vulture-rich areas of the country.