October 14, 2020 10:57:46 pm
THE Royal Society for Conservation of Birds (RSCB), UK, has awarded Indian conservationist Ram Jakati its prestigious Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Nature Conservation for his work on vulture conservation.
Jakati, a 1975-batch IFS officer and former chief wildlife warden (CWW) of Haryana, was honoured for his tireless effort to save vultures for more than a decade beginning 2001, by when the crisis of vulture population decline had assumed serious proportion.
Jakati, 68, who retired as director of the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy in 2012, had served as Haryana CWW from 1996 to 2008. He was awarded the medal in a virtual function organised by RSPB on October 10.
“Jakati played a fundamental role in helping to get the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) vulture project support by RSPB off the ground. Jakati took the brave step of providing state land for the vulture captive care centre. He also played an influential role in the ban on veterinary use of the medicine Diclofenac, the cause of vulture decline. He helped to set up Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction (SAVE ), an international consortium of organisations that plays a co-ordination role in conservation of South Asian vultures. His tireless work helped make the vulture work a priority, which is now the central point of focus for Asian vulture conservation,” read a citation from RSPB.
“I had received a letter from BNHS in 2001 about the vulture crisis and the need to take urgent steps to save them. It captured my imagination and I thought I must do something in this regard,” Jakati told The Indian Express. “…We got sick vultures from all over the country and started treating them at the centre set up at Pinjar. Today, the centre has 274 pairs of vultures. We also convinced the government to ban veterinary use of Diclofenac,” he said.
Jakati claimed that the conservation efforts and ban on Diclofenac have led to a drop in the percentage of carcasses of vultures, from 12 to 2 per cent. “It needs to be less than 1 percent to be able to regain its past population,” he said.
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