About 99.9 percent of the vultures have disappeared from the South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, during the last two decades.
Sylhet Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) RSM Manirul Islam said this at a discussion on saving vultures in Habiganj town yesterday.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Forest Department in Sylhet organised the meeting marking the International Vulture Awareness Day 2017.
Manirul said vultures have become almost extinct in these countries as they ate carcasses of cattle that had been fed banned fattening drugs like Diclofenac and Ketoprofen.
Vultures are an ecologically vital group of birds that face a range of threats in many areas where they live. Populations of many species are under pressure and some species are facing extinction.
IUCN Country Representative Ishtiaq Uddin Ahmad in his speech as special guest said loss of habitat and scarcity of food were the main reasons behind the rapid disappearance of eco-friendly vultures.
Bangladesh Bird Club founder and renowned bird researcher Enam Ul Haque gave the keynote speech. He called for raising awareness among the people, including school/college students, to save vultures. Rabies, anthrax and other deadly tropical diseases are on the rise due to the disappearance of vultures, he added.
Divisional Forest Officer of Wildlife Management and Nature Conservation Department Mihir Kumar Doe said the extinction of vultures will adversely affect Bangladesh's bio-diversity. Rabies and anthrax will become endemic due to the disappearance of vultures, he added.
Habiganj Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) Emran Hossain was the chief guest. He said awareness building programmes about saving vultures should be taken up all over the country.