Vultures have been on the verge of extinction in Pakistan. However, in recent years, nature’s ‘garbage disposal’ workers have shown signs of recovery.
According to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report, the population of vultures found in the Thar Desert, and scattered areas in southern Punjab, Azad Kashmir, and southwestern Balochistan had declined by up to 95 percent since the 1990s.
However, ornithologists have recently spotted hundreds of vultures alongside a water reservoir in Gorano in Thar – a new hope for the endangered species.
The reservoir was recently built to pump water out of the coalfield. Other than that, experts have also found 60 new nests in Nangarparkar and Islamkot areas
Naveed Ali Soomro, who heads the IUCN’s vulture conservation project, said his team spotted nearly 300 vultures in the area back in July.
He mentioned that definitive proof of an increase in vulture’s population will only be possible after the start of their breeding season in January.
At this stage, we can’t say whether the birds gathered there [from other parts of the province] for water because it was a drought season. Things will be cleared up after the coming breeding session.
Soomro highlighted that the advanced means of transport and better road networks have created food shortages for the bird that feeds on the dead, forcing it to migrate to India.
Until a few decades ago, vultures had had enough food to survive in areas like Thar. But the construction of roads has decreased the mortality rate of animals, as the locals either sell the ailing animals or take them to big cities for treatment.
He said that the current numbers are encouraging but not sufficient to declare that the species is safe.