BENGALURU: To protect the last surviving vultures in the hillocks of Ramanagara, the Karnataka Forest Department is now working with the Zoo Authority of Karnataka to set up a vulture breeding centre in Bengaluru Bannerghatta Biological Park.
The department is also working with its old plan on creating a vulture restaurant on the hilltop of Ramanagara to feed the vultures and help increase their population. Earlier the forest officials were working with experts to set up a breeding centre at the foothills of Ramanagara, but it will take time and the department is in a hurry. “Setting up a centre at Ramanagara from scratch will take time and it will be difficult for veterinarians to go there at regular intervals.
So we have decided to use the existing facilities at Bannerghatta and set it up at the zoo,” Ajai Mishra, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Wildlife, told The New Indian Express. He along with zoo officials and veterinarians has already inspected the facilities at the zoo where the breeding centre can be set up.
“We chose Bannerghatta because veterinarians are always available, more from GKVK can come any time. There is also sufficient staff to take care of the birds. Enclosures are also present. Besides, we want to start the breeding programme at the earliest and so Bannerghatta is ideal. In the meantime, works on conservation of vultures and the restaurant in Ramanagara will also start,” he added.
The department is holding talks with the Zoo Authority of Karnataka and the Ramanagara district administration to speed up the works. The department is also working on tying up with those rearing cattle to hand over diclofenac-free dead cattle to feed to the vultures in Ramanagara, so that the vulture restaurant kick-starts to help revive the vulture population.
The department is also spending Rs 130 crore to improve all facilities for setting up the vulture breeding centre and the vulture restaurant. They are also partnering with experts from other states and countries to bring in the best of practices.