Lahore: Hundreds of children, educationists, civil society members, activists and volunteers celebrated International Vulture Awareness Day 2012 at Lahore Zoo. The event was formally organized by World Wide Fund for Nature – Pakistan (WWF – Pakistan). WWF cites the White backed Vulture (Gyps bengalensis) as one of its ‘priority species’ for conservation.
The colourful weekend event featured games, face painting, vulture trivia and fact sharing, documentary screening and lucky draw attendees were taken around the bird aviary at the zoo as part of a special guided tour.
Speaking at the occasion, Sadduf Saleem, the Conservation Officer at WWF – Pakistan said, “The White-backed vulture is a critically endangered species that we are working to conserve. We are part of a consolidated regional effort under the name of SAVE and hope to see an increase in the population of the White-backed vulture in the near future. Days such as International Vulture Awareness Day give a voice to animals that really need our concern. It allows the public to directly interact with the organisations that are working to conserve this species.”
The celebration is part of the activities done by vulture conservationists around the world every year on 1st September as part of the International Vulture Awareness Day. The International Vulture Awareness Day was initiated by the Birds of Prey Programme in South Africa and the Hawk Conservancy Trust in England, who later expanded the initiative into an international event. Now, this co-ordinated international day publicises the conservation of vultures to a wider audience and highlights the important work being carried out by the world’s vulture conservationists.
From the year 2000-2003, Pakistan saw a 50% decrease in the population of the White backed vulture. This was primarily due to the use of Diclofenac sodium, a drug administered to livestock. When the vultures fed upon the carcass of such livestock, it would cause immediate renal failure in the form of visceral gout. The drug has been effectively banned since the year 2006, however bringing the population back up to a sustainable level still requires tough conservation work. WWF – Pakistan is carrying out ex-situ work in the form of a Restoration Centre in Changa Manga, where the current population of White backed vultures is 21. Captive breeding and maintaining a safe population is the aim of the centre.
About WWF - Pakistan
World Wide Fund for Nature - Pakistan was formed in 1970 to address the growing environmental and conservation issues in Pakistan that not only affected the flora and fauna, but were also affecting the human population. WWF – Pakistan is a non-profit organisation, working to preserve, conserve and save our environment and natural resources. Today, WWF - Pakistan works through 31 offices with a team of approximately 340 dedicated staff members. We have our Head Office in Lahore, regional offices in Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Gilgit, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Quetta, and project offices wherever there is need and the potential to make a difference.
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WWF – Pakistan
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