White-backed Vulture

Threats

WWF-Pakistan has a Vulture Conservation Center at Changa Manga © Ghulam Rasool / WWF-Pakistan. rel=
WWF-Pakistan has a Vulture Conservation Center at Changa Manga © Ghulam Rasool / WWF-Pakistan
WWF-Pakistan has a Vulture Conservation Center at Changa Manga © Ghulam Rasool / WWF-Pakistan

Diclofenac Sodium

Diclofenac Sodium, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), used as a pain killer in the livestock, is the main cause of mortality in Gyps vulture. When vultures fed on the dead animals already injected with the Diclofenac Sodium, vultures got kidneys failure and ultimately visceral gout which led to their mortality. A study in Nepal has indicated that majority of people still do not link Diclofenac use to a decline in vulture populations which leads to slower uptake of Meloxicam (Paudel 2008).

Ketoprofen and Aceclofenac

Recent research has indicated that drugs such as Ketoprofen and Aceclofenac are also fatal to vultures in a similar manner as Diclofenac Sodium because they metabolize in the body just like Diclofenac. In India the measurements of residue levels in ungulate carcasses for Ketoprofen indicates that they are present in sufficient concentrations to cause vulture mortalities (Naidoo et al. 2009). In Pakistan as well, Ketoprofen and Aceclofenac are available in Nagar Parkar under different brand names.

Less Availability of Carcass

According to a study of Wildlife Trust of India in 2009, the changes in the human consumption and processing of dead livestock and non-target poisoning might be a contributing reason of decline. Another study has also revealed that the high mortality rate of the fledglings, dead adults and adults with visceral gout has all male biased mortalities which might cause problem in future.

References

Paudel, S. 2008. Vanishing vultures and diclofenac prevalence in Lumbini IBA. Danphe 17(2): 1-3.

Arshad, M.; Chaudhary, M. J. I.; Wink, M. 2009. High mortality and sex ratio imbalance in a critically declining Oriental White-backed Vulture population Gyps bengalensis. Journal of Ornithology 150(2): 495-503.

Did you know Facts

Vultures can fly effortlessly for hours at a time. They do so by gliding over thermal updrafts (warm rising pockets of air), grabbing a free lift.

Vultures can digest meat in any stage of decay, and withstand diseases that would kill any other creature.

Vultures do not have feathers on head and neck because in this way they dip their heads into dead animal’s body when feeding without getting dirty.
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