The city-based Kongunadu arts and science college celebrated international vulture awareness day in its college premises on September 2.
In recent times, Indian vultures have declined due to use of the veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac (NSAID). Subsequently, the drug was banned in India for veterinary purposes in 2006. Similarly, the drugs - nimesulide, aceclofenac, carprofen, flunixin and ketoprofen - are also identified as toxic drugs for vultures. Vultures are also facing site specific threats like retaliation of killing in and around the Moyar Valley of Tamil Nadu. So far, Meloxicam and Tolfenamic acid are recommended as the safest drugs for vultures.
The three Gyps Vultures namely White-rumped Vulture, Indian Vulture and Red-headed Vulture are thriving in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve of Moyar Valley.
To create awareness about the importance of vultures on eco-balance, a photo exhibition was conducted by the Zoology department of the college on the occasion of international vulture awareness day.
R Venkitachalam, assistant professor, has been regularly monitoring vultures and availability of the toxic drugs in the pharmacy shops in and around the Moyar Valley of Tamil Nadu since 2010.
Although the large number of manufacturers and availability of meloxicam is encouraging, the wide range of untested NSAIDs is a major source of concern. Students and staff attended the event.