Oriental White Backed Vulture."Three species of south Asia's vultures are critically threatened with extinction in the near future. We have to act now to save these birds.
The Oriental white-backed vulture was so abundant in India in the 1980s that it was probably the most common large bird of prey in the world. Only one in a thousand now survives, a 99.9% decline for this species.
All three species - the Oriental white-backed, the long-billed and the slender-billed vulture - have declined by more than 97% since the early 1990s.
This shocking decline is because of a veterinary drug, diclofenac, which is toxic to any vulture that feeds on the carcass of recently treated cattle."
Of course, the near disappearance of the vultures is having a devastating effect on the environment. Vultures are vital to keep ecosystems healthy and dispose of carcasses. In Mumbai, the lack of vultures in carcass dumps leads the dogs to take their place, which has caused the population to explode. Leopards are lured into the cities by the dogs, which are easy prey, and encounters with humans is now common... as well as inevitable attacks on humans.
But all hope is not lost! Some surviving individuals are now being bred in captivity with success and the Indian Government has banned the drug, Diclofenac. However, people continue to use the drug, so ridding it from all markets, in which the drug is still being sold, is vital. With the drug still being used on cattle, the vultures cannot be released back into the wild.
- You can donate here to help with funding for breeding and awareness in India.[link]
Other knowledge gained from National Geographic's Vulture Apocalypse
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