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Two more vulture species under threat from veterinary painkiller diclofenac

By Salome Phelamei | Last Updated: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 04:03

Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei

Pune: A new study suggests that the veterinary painkiller diclofenac could be the reason behind the drastic decline in the number of vulture species such as Red-headed and Egyptian Vulture.

According to the study, the Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) and the Red-headed Vulture (Sarcogyps calvus) had declined by nearly 80% and 91% respectively in the Indian subcontinent since the mid-1990s.

Published in the Cambridge Journal–Bird Conservation International, the study, conducted by the researchers from BNHS-India and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), stated that the drug seems to have affected the two species in South Asia over the past decade.
However, the research also revealed that ban on diclofenac has slowed down the decline in numbers of all vulture species.

“The partial recovery of vulture numbers after the ban shows that strong research and advocacy go a long way in effective conservation. Further research should also focus on the current status of Red-headed and Egyptian vultures,” BNHS Director Asad Rahmani said in a statement.
According to the avian specialists, vultures, which are on the IUCN list of critically endangered birds, are elusive and slow breeding creatures.

Earlier, three Gyps species of vultures- the Slender-billed Vulture, White-rumped Vulture and the Long-billed Vulture were also affected by the painkiller.

First Published: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 03:58

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