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Dec 19, 2014

The end of vultures?

Eurasian Griffon Vulture
Photo by Chris Hellier/Corbis
Diclofenac, an anti-immflamatory agent and painkiller was introduced around the end of the 20th century in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh to treat sick cattle.   But cattle carcasses eaten by vultures caused a fatal kidney condition and within a few years vultures declined by an amazing 99.9% across south Asia.   The worst-affected species were the Long-billed, Slender-billed and Oriental White-backed Vultures which all suffered population crashes in south Asia.   Without significant international action, all three species are likely headed to extinction.   Now, Spain and Italy are considering allowing Diclofenac to be used in their countries, even though a safe alternative exists.   What may be lost?   Spain holds the vast majority of four of the most vulnerable species: 90% of the continent's Eurasian Griffon Vultures, 97% of the continent's Cinereous Vultures, 67% of the continent's Bearded Vultures and 85% of the continent's Egyptian Vultures.   Many are working against this threat.   Spread the word and be part of the solution.
Cinereous Vulture
Photo: Prague Zoo/Wikipedia
Egyptian Vulture
Photo by Carlos Delgado/Wikipedia
Bearded Vulture
Photo by Tony Heald/

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