Wildlife experts call for more efforts to save vultures

THE HIMALAYAN TIMES

KATHMANDU: Vulture, also known as efficient natural scavengers, are on the verge of extinction despite conservation efforts.

At a programme organised to mark the International Vulture Awareness Day, conservationists and wildlife experts today called for more efforts to save the vulture.

They also stressed trans-boarder efforts as the bird does not confine itself a particular boundary.

Veterinary drug ‘Diclofenac’, which is used as a painkiller for animals, is identified as the main cause of the vulture’s decline. A vulture dies if it consumes an animal carcass contaminated with Declofenac.

Keeping this fact in mind, the drug has been banned in Nepal since 2006 and it has been replaced with Maloxicam.

The vulture population in South Asia has drastically dwindled since the 1990s: Five of its kind, out of nine, are on the brink of extinction.

“Studies show that vulture population has gone down in Nepal by 91 per cent,” said Ananda Chaudhary, vulture conservation programme officer in Nepal.

Of eight types of vultures found in Nepal, four are on the verge of extinction. Once recorded in thousands, vulture population came down to 217 in 2009.

It was informed at the programme that efforts are on to save the vulture nationally and internationally.

Captive breeding centre, which has 43 vultures at present, has been established in Chitwan National Park.

Internationally, two such centres have been set up in India and one in Pakistan. Nepal had introduced the ‘Vulture Safe Zones’ concept, which is being replicated in India and Pakistan.

A vulture restaurant has been set up in Kawasoti of Nawalpasari to feed the vulture declofenac-free carcasses.

The government had launched a five-year action plan for vulture conservation in 2009.

Megh Raj Panday, deputy director general, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, said, “The action plan will serve as a guideline for conservation work, streamlining conservation efforts and avoiding duplication.”

Vultures do not hunt for food and depend entirely on dead animals.

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Filed under animals, biodiversity, conservation, endangered, environment, environmentalism, extinction, nature, wildlife, zoology

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