photo: Lip Kee/Creative Commons
Some good news on the critically endangered Indian vulture: New research published in PLoS One documents how the rate of the bird's decline has fallen since India, Nepal, and Pakistan banned the veterinary painkiller that directly led to the vultures' near demise.
Between 2006-2008 the amount of cattle carcasses contaminated with diclofenac has fallen 40%. When vultures fed on the cattle they ingested the painkiller, resulting in kidney failure. Diclofenac was banned in 2006.
Because of the ban, the expected rate of vulture decline is expected to drop to 18% per year for the most vulnerable species--down from 40% per year prior to the ban. That's still not enough to allow Indian vultures to recover however.Diclofenac is also still made for human usage, and being used illegally to treat cattle. Until diclofenac is completely removed from the vultures' food supply, a very real threat to their existence remains.
All told, Indian vulture numbers have fallen 97-99% from historic levels.
Read the research: Effectiveness of Action in India to Reduce Exposure of Gyps Vultures to the Toxic Veterinary Drug Diclofenac
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