Prelims level : Biodiversity Mains level : GS-III Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
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  • Recently, the South India Vulture Conservation Group has come up with a blueprint for the conservation of vulture population in Five South Indian States.


  • Out of nine vulture species in India, four namely — white-backed vulture, long-billed vulture, slender-billed vulture and red-headed vulture — are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN and all are in the Schedule-1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, the highest category of endangerment
  • Except slender-billed vulture, the three other critically endangered species are found in the Moyar valley in the Nilgiris, whose population has seen a slight increase,
  • The government has to restrict availability of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID) for veterinary use and to create a vulture safe zone in each south Indian State.
  • It has appealed to the Forest Department that National Tiger Conservation Authority guidelines should be implemented for carcass disposal by not burying or burning it.

Reasons for Death of Vultures:

  • The reason behind the vulture population getting nearly wiped out was the drug Diclofenac.
  • It was found in the carcass of cattle on which the vultures feed. The drug was commonly administered to cattle to treat inflammation.
  • Its veterinary use was banned in 2008 by the Government of India.
  • It is dangerously fatal for Vultures. Even 1% of it in carcass would kill the Vulture in a short time after it feeds such carcass.
  • The poisoned carcasses were dumped to kill some local stray animals. But when vultures fed on them, it became one of the vital reasons leading to their death.

 Way Forward:

  • The forest department needs to give emphasis on creating awareness and on creating safe zones for vultures in places where there is an existing vulture population. So far nine states have undertaken programmes to create safe habitats for vultures.
  • Vultures are slow-breeding birds, there is a need for immediate intervention to save them from extinction




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