Sunday 2 February 2014

Hopes to release Asian Vultures back into the Wild in 2016

After the 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". It then wants to establish many more and bigger safe zones.

Diclofenac - used by vets on cattle - was identified as causing a crash in vulture numbers and banned by India after the population dropped by 96%.

But, says Save, the version for human use is still given illegally to cattle.Much work is being done to educate local farmers into using safer alternatives

Diclofenac was banned for use by vets and farmers in 2006 because of its effect on vultures that feed on livestock carcasses. It either causes Kidney failure or makes them infertile

Vulures are essential to clean up carcasses that would otherwise rot and spread disease