What started as a passion and love for nature has landed him an international honour. City-based Subbaiah Bharathidasan received an award from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for his work on saving vultures that were on the brink of extinction in the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka.

He received the award at the IUCN's World Congress held on September 6 at Honululu Islands in Hawaii in the US. He was one among the 15 hotspot heroes selected for the award among the 2,000 conservationists across the globe.

Subbaiah Bharathidasan, an ardent nature lover started an NGO for conserving nature and dedicated it to his friend Arul who died in 2002. The 44-year-old who started with setting up a nursery to save endangered plants decided to shift his focus to vultures in 2011 after he got concerned about their reducing numbers.
Bharatidasan said that so far as per their census, the population of the vultures as a couple has increased from 150 to 250 in Western Ghats region in the past five years. "The problem with vultures is that, they lay only one egg in a year and that too in favourable conditions," he said.

Bharathidasan said one of the major reasons for the extinction of vultures was the drug diclofenac that was administered to cattle for muscle inflammation, fever and sprains. That drug caused multiple organ failure in vultures after the scavengers fed on the dead carcass of the cattle. "Our aim is to bring focus of the state government to vultures and ensure they work towards conserving it with the same interest that is shown in tigers. Only then, we would have achieved something," he said.

Source: October 10, 2016, The Times of India