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April 27 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


Vultures, those majestic scavengers of the sky, play a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance of our planet.

However, their populations in India, among other South Asian nations, have faced a perilous decline due to various factors, primarily the widespread use of toxic veterinary drugs like diclofenac.

Efforts to conserve these crucial birds have been underway, spearheaded by governmental initiatives and international collaborations.

Key Facts About Vulture Species in India:

  • Vultures belong to a group of 22 species of large scavenger birds predominantly found in tropical and subtropical regions, serving as nature’s garbage collectors.
  • In India, nine vulture species exist, including Oriental white-backed, Long-billed, Slender-billed, Himalayan, Red-headed, Egyptian, Bearded, Cinereous, and Eurasian Griffon.
  • Vultures contribute significantly to ecosystem health by efficiently consuming carrion, preventing the spread of diseases, and acting as indicator species for environmental changes.

Reasons Behind the Decline in Vulture Populations:

Drug Poisoning:

  • The use of veterinary drugs like diclofenac, ketoprofen, and aceclofenac led to fatal kidney failure in vultures when they fed on treated livestock carcasses.

Secondary Poisoning:

  • Vultures consuming carcasses contaminated with pesticides or lead ammunition suffer from secondary poisoning, further diminishing their numbers.

Habitat Loss:

  • Urbanization, deforestation, and agricultural expansion have destroyed vulture nesting sites, roosting areas, and food sources.

Collisions with Infrastructure:

  • Vultures are prone to collisions with power lines, wind turbines, and other structures, causing injuries or fatalities.

Poaching and Hunting:

  • Cultural beliefs and illegal wildlife trade contribute to the targeted hunting of vultures in some regions.

Disease Outbreaks:

  • Avian diseases like pox and flu can decimate vulture populations, exacerbating their decline.

Vulture Conservation Efforts Taken by India:

Addressing the Drug Threat:

  • India banned diclofenac in 2006 and expanded the ban to ketoprofen and aceclofenac in 2023, mitigating the primary cause of vulture poisoning.

Captive Breeding and Reintroduction:

  • Vulture Conservation Breeding Centers focus on breeding endangered species for reintroduction into the wild, bolstering declining populations.

Vulture Restaurant:

  • Initiatives like the Vulture Restaurant in Jharkhand provide safe food sources for vultures to counteract the effects of livestock drugs.

Other Conservation Initiatives:

  • Vulture species are protected under various wildlife protection acts, and programs like the Vulture Safe Zone aim to conserve their habitats.

International Collaboration:

  • Initiatives like SAVE coordinate regional and international efforts to conserve South Asia’s vultures.

Case Study on Bald Eagle of the US:

The decline of the American bald eagle due to DDT illustrates the potential for recovery through concerted conservation efforts, including habitat preservation and hunting restrictions.

Regulatory actions like the ban on DDT and legislative measures such as the Endangered Species Act were pivotal in the bald eagle’s remarkable recovery.

Way Forward:

  • Regulating harmful veterinary drugs and promoting safer alternatives is essential for vulture conservation.
  • Educating the public on proper carcass disposal and establishing vulture feeding centers can ensure their protection.
  • Identifying and protecting nesting sites, along with creating corridors between feeding and nesting areas, are crucial for vulture habitat preservation.
  • Continuous monitoring and vigilance are necessary to eliminate diclofenac use entirely and ensure the success of vulture conservation efforts.


April 27
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category:
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