Mass poisoning of vultures in north-east India


At least 34 vultures have died in a suspected mass poisoning event in north-east India.

The victims are made up of Slender-billed and White-rumped Vultures, both Critically Endangered species. The incident occurred over 18-19 January in Tinsukia, Eastern Assam. Some 13 additional vultures were retrieved alive but in a critical state, and are currently fighting for their lives in rehabilitation.

Some of the poisoned vultures in Eastern Assam (EastMojo.com).

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On Monday 18 January, villagers found many vultures dead or in a critical condition in a village near Talap. Once experts arrived on the ground, they came across a cattle carcass as well as 22 dead vultures and 13 more in comatose conditions.

They transferred the vultures that were alive to the Wildlife Trust of India station in Guijan to receive treatment but, unfortunately, four of them died later. The next day, experts continued the field search and found eight more dead vultures and another four which were alive.

To confirm the cause of death, experts sent samples to perform forensic examinations. Based on what they found at the scene, they suspect the vultures died after consuming cattle carcasses that either died from poisoning themselves or were laced with poison baits after it died.