Project targets 2016 for Asian vultures release
Source: BBC News, Date: , 2014
devastation wrought by a drug on Asian vulture populations, a project hopes to
begin releasing captive-bred birds into the wild by 2016.
The Saving Asia's
Vultures from Extinction (Save) programme says it plans to release up to 25
birds into a 30,000-sq-km drug-free "safe zone".
Diclofenac - used
by vets on cattle - was identified as causing a crash in vulture numbers and
banned by India.But, says Save, the version for human use is still given
illegally to cattle.Diclofenac was banned for use by vets and farmers in 2006
because of its effect on vultures that feed on livestock carcasses.
The link between
the anti-inflammatory drug, used to reduce swelling in injured or diseased
animals, and the devastating demise of Asia's vulture populations was firmly
established in 2004.Until the breeding programme, the threatened species of
vulture had not been bred in captivity
Tests on captive
vultures fed carcass flesh traced with the drug produced symptoms that were
strikingly similar to those witnessed in sick birds in the wild.
vultures feeding on cattle either died from acute kidney failure within a few
days or lost their ability to reproduce.Rinkita Gurav from the Bombay Natural
History Society - a member of the international Save consortium - said that it
was vital to "remove diclofenac from the market completely".
veterinary version of the drug was banned in India back in 2006 but the major
problem is that the human forms of the drug are being given illegally to
cattle," she told BBC News."Because of this, it is not completely out
of the system... [and] is readily available in pharmacies and chemists."
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