Chat Archives
Chat on "Vulture Conservation in India" dated August 18, 2010
  • Susan Sharma: Welcome to Indianwildlifeclub's online chat on "Vulture conservation in India"
  • Susan Sharma: The expert online is "Pradeep Sharma"
  • Pradeep Sharma: Hello Friends, Pradeep here
  • Susan Sharma: Hi Pradeep
  • Pradeep Sharma: Hi Susan
  • Susan Sharma: Tell us what exactly you are doing. As others join in we can take questions
  • Pradeep Saxena: Yes,
  • Pradeep Saxena: i m doing conservation in tarei region
  • Pradeep Sharma: I have been collecting information regarding painkiller usage, sitatuation arising in abscence of Vultures and other similar factors
  • Susan Sharma: conservation of vultures?
  • Pradeep Sharma: Hi Pradeep
  • Pradeep Saxena: Hi
  • Susan Sharma: which pain killer?
  • Pradeep Sharma: There are many painkillers being used in vet practices in India
  • Pradeep Saxena: actually just few week befor i saw a coloney of more then 200 long willed veltures
  • Pradeep Sharma: These are broadly grouped into two...Non Steroidal and Steroidal....
  • Pradeep Sharma: that is an interesting and plesant news....
  • Pradeep Sharma: Diclofenac, as we know, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug
  • Pradeep Saxena: even i have the proof also
  • Susan Sharma: Are long willed vultures also affected like white backed ?
  • Pradeep Sharma: Both the species have been observed to decline
  • Pradeep Sharma: Both belong to Gyps genus and genetically very similar
  • Susan Sharma: If diclofenac is non steroidal why is it killing vultures?
  • Pradeep Saxena: even u surpries that just 2 year befor i saw himalayan velture in Tarei region
  • Pradeep Sharma: though recently Slender-billed vulture has been declared as a different species Gyps tenuirostris
  • Pradeep Sharma: Slender-billed vulture, previously, was included in the same genus as Long-billed
  • Susan Sharma: long billed and slender billed same?
  • Pradeep Saxena: Have u ppl been any survey in tarei region
  • Pradeep Sharma: no....it was considered to be same, but recent genetic work on the species, has indicated Slender-billed to be a different species
  • Pradeep Sharma: No Pradeep, I have not ever been in Terai
  • Pradeep Sharma: Also I would like to answer Susan's question
  • Pradeep Sharma: Diclofenac, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), NSAID's are generally known to exert adverse effect on Kidney
  • Pradeep Sharma: even in human beings
  • Pradeep Sharma: extensive research has been done on this aspects in human subjects
  • Pradeep Sharma: This is the first time that a NSAID has been prove to be the cause behind large scale mass decline of vulture
  • Pradeep Saxena: I dont know that what type of work u ppl r doing but just for ur kind information that i have seen one more coloney in sonebhadra district
  • Susan Sharma: I believe there is now researched results showing this side effect as responsible for vulture deaths?
  • Pradeep Sharma: thus prompting further attempts/research to understand these aspect on Raptors or Birds of Prey
  • Pradeep Sharma: Yes Diclofenac causes disturabance in kidney of above mentioned vultures species
  • Pradeep Sharma: resulting into hampering of excretion of Uric acid, the major excretory product of birds...
  • Pradeep Sharma: once it is not excreted out, it tends out to deposit on body tissues and organs
  • Pradeep Sharma: and this is known as Visceral gout
  • Pradeep Sharma: and Diclofenac has been proven/shown to cause the same in vultures finally resulting into death
  • Susan Sharma: Diclofenac is now banned but I believe easily available still?
  • Pradeep Sharma: The Diclofenac episode warrants us to be more sensible about drugs that we use in Veterianry practices
  • Pradeep Sharma: Though the Govt of India was quick to ban it but unfortunately still it is available
  • Pradeep Sharma: In veterinary practices I meant
  • Susan Sharma: Has there been any campaigns for not using diclofenac?
  • Ravi Chellam: Yes.
  • Ravi Chellam: GoI has in fact banned it.
  • Ravi Chellam: Both production and import for veterinary use.
  • Pradeep Sharma: yes, but the problem is use of Diclofenac meant for human use.
  • Ravi Chellam: But human use is allowed.
  • Pradeep Sharma: Human Diclofenac available in vials of 30ml and standard dose for large animal is 15 ml , so quacks are probably using it in some parts
  • Pradeep Sharma: Also diclofenac is very effective drug and very cheap
  • Pradeep Sharma: these are two factors prompting now illegal usage by quacks
  • Pradeep Sharma: the safe alternate is Meloxicam and now available at cheaper rates
  • Susan Sharma: Hi Ravi and Chris Thanks for coming in and adding value
  • Chris Bowden: Yes Hi Pradeep, Susan and Ravi! Good to see this happening... sorry I cant stay for long
  • Pradeep Sharma: Hi Chris, thanks for joining
  • Susan Sharma: Pradeep you said you are also collecting info about what is the cost of not having vultures around.
  • Pradeep Sharma: Well, now this is a good question
  • Pradeep Sharma: Firstly vultures have really been assisting clean-up act very efficiently
  • Pradeep Sharma: but now the altered ecology facilitates increased number of Dogs in many instances and Rabies...though not uniformly observed
  • Pradeep Sharma: another issue is spreading of diseases, zoonotic ones included
  • Chris Bowden: there is some ifo on this, but scope for more
  • Pradeep Sharma: Zoonotic diseases are one that is able to transmit between man to animal or vice versa
  • Pradeep Sharma: also Crows and dogs are both species frequents human settlement in rural India and attends decomposing carcasses as well...
  • Pradeep Sharma: thus acting like probable vectors...
  • Pradeep Sharma: yes I agree with Chris..this is altogether a new area to focus on...
  • Pradeep Sharma: and in era of emergence of new diseases, it definitely warrantts further attempts
  • Chris Bowden: promoting meloxicam (small m!) not a brand name of course - is also a key need in my view
  • Pradeep Sharma: Warrants
  • Pradeep Sharma: I agree, probably this is the only painkille around proven safe for vultures
  • Chris Bowden: I wish we had another to say it is also safe!
  • Pradeep Sharma: Sooner the better
  • Pradeep Sharma: !
  • Chris Bowden: but do vets really like it yet?
  • Pradeep Sharma: Personally speaking,....there are mixed reactions
  • Chris Bowden: not being a vet, it is hard to promote
  • Pradeep Sharma: some vets are not very comfortable with it
  • Pradeep Sharma: Chris there are other intrinsic factos involved as well...
  • Pradeep Sharma: For example I am a vet and I practices say in some town
  • Chris Bowden: we have tried to lobby the companies to make sure their meloxicam is well formulated
  • Pradeep Sharma: the quack is using Diclofenac and giving immediate relief to the animal
  • Pradeep Sharma: so to establish my practice or rather survive I have to compete against
  • Chris Bowden: do you have some recent prices info? this is also needed from more widely...
  • Pradeep Sharma: Prices for 30ml Meloxicam are in ranges of 30-35 Rs
  • Chris Bowden: it does seem that diclofenac is undeniably a bit faster acting
  • Pradeep Sharma: but ceratain lesser known companies are offering far cheaper prices
  • Chris Bowden: complications of converying prices to per cow dose donrt help
  • Pradeep Sharma: yes...and potent analgesic, anti pyretic
  • Chris Bowden: But that sounds same as diclofenac price?
  • Pradeep Sharma: Yes but again Meloxicam, in mass perception, has not really been effective as compared to Diclofenac
  • Chris Bowden: meloxicam please? (not M) :)
  • Pradeep Sharma: also Quacks are ignorant of using Diclofenac generally...
  • Pradeep Sharma: I mean consequences of using Diclofenac
  • Susan Sharma: why this emphasis on m and M, Chris?
  • Chris Bowden: Yes.... so how can we better reach the vets (and later quacks)?
  • Pradeep Sharma: Vets are organized bodies, far sensible and professional...There should be two different stratgies for both the groups
  • Chris Bowden: because m shows it is not a brand (ie it can be made by anyone, so no vested interest in promoting it
  • Pradeep Sharma: for Vets, we need to convey the outcome of the research in a pracitcal manner
  • Chris Bowden: if you can think of ways to do that, this would be good
  • Pradeep Sharma: durig my interaction with vet colleagues, they say that they need to get scientifically sound information why NOT to use Diclofenac
  • Pradeep Sharma: Yes, there are couple of good plans but let us see
  • Chris Bowden: through vet networks etc... something that is hard for us wildlifers!
  • Chris Bowden: need to get some more senior vets on board?
  • Pradeep Sharma: Yeah...it definitely helps to be in same profession...it helps to understand and connect
  • Susan Sharma: If vets can be wildlifers, vice versa?
  • Pradeep Sharma: So the research, in a proper form and manner, must be made available to practicising vets
  • Chris Bowden: Yes... but will they be taken seriously enough is the problem I think?
  • Susan Sharma: Just shows how much more needs to be done by way of creating awareness Wish IWc can help
  • Pradeep Sharma: transition has its share of challenges
  • Chris Bowden: Does WCS have veterinary networks it could exploit Ravi?
  • Pradeep Sharma: But again, Quacks, another segment is also needed to be considered
  • Ravi Chellam: They are currently working in a few districts with vets and livestock inspectors.
  • Pradeep Sharma: through effective implementation of legislation...
  • Pradeep Sharma: as they are random, free, not organized and at time illiterate
  • Ravi Chellam: The idea is to educate them and to build their capacities so that they act in an informed manner.
  • Chris Bowden: Quacks are certainly even harder to reach... start with vets may make sense I suspect?
  • Pradeep Sharma: Well...in many areas, in my opinion, Quacks dominate the scene
  • Ravi Chellam: To answer Chris, we do not have vet networks in India as yet.
  • Pradeep Sharma: for a wholistic approach both groups must be targeted
  • Ravi Chellam: This is being currently discussed but we are still at least a couple years away from real action.
  • Pradeep Sharma: Sir, there are state vet association
  • Pradeep Sharma: and associations do exist at district level
  • Ravi Chellam: Yes and Percy and Kazveen are working with these at the district level.
  • Ravi Chellam: Since Percy is also holding a government job he is using his position to gain traction.
  • Ravi Chellam: Haven't had a recent up date but last heard they seem to be making good progress.
  • Chris Bowden: doing more with such associations has so far been beyond us... agree Percy is doing great, but needs more like this
  • Pradeep Sharma: Also in my opinion, Respective State Veterinary Council can be approached
  • Ravi Chellam: Who is going to take the lead on this?
  • Pradeep Sharma: I would like to contrinute suitable
  • Pradeep Sharma: suitably
  • Chris Bowden: good question Ravi - we are planning to do some, but its beyond us to do it on the scale required
  • Pradeep Sharma: I agree with Chris since the problem is concerned with a very large landscape..
  • Ravi Chellam: I am not even sure if we have a clear strategy and a plan.
  • Ravi Chellam: While the captive breeding aspect seems to be reasonably under control the advocacy and implementation
  • Susan Sharma: May be a pilot project can be attempted in Rajasthan?
  • Ravi Chellam: issues still need quite a bit of work.
  • Pradeep Sharma: yes, that sounds like an initiations
  • Pradeep Sharma: initiation
  • Chris Bowden: I dont think we do have it clear enough - or not laid out clearly enough for it to be taken up widely
  • Ravi Chellam: It needs to be sustained and based on an expanding network.
  • Ravi Chellam: We clearly also need government buy in and this has to be across at least 3 or 4 departments and ministries
  • Chris Bowden: Absolutely... BNHS is trying to appoint a team leader to be based in Delhi, and this is high on list for that person
  • Ravi Chellam: We need to be looking at this as a multiple year initiative involving several collaborating institutions
  • Susan Sharma: Nita Shah of BNHs is doing a wonderful job of liasoning with ministries
  • Ravi Chellam: as well as partnerships with government both at the centre as well as in the states
  • Chris Bowden: Agree Ravi... has it reached you this plan for SAVE? may help to coordinate this theme we hope
  • Susan Sharma: Mike pandey has made a film on vultures
  • Chris Bowden: Saving Asia's vultures from Extinction... to try to align parties on agreed theme and make it all more fundable...
  • Susan Sharma: time has come for all concerned individuals to work together
  • Pradeep Sharma: But effective implementaion of ban must be a priority
  • Ravi Chellam: I do not recollect reading this plan.
  • Chris Bowden: Fully agree... and to make it clear that more organisations are needed to come in on this
  • Ravi Chellam: Chris can you send it to me rchellam@wcs.org
  • Susan Sharma: Easier said than done Pradeep
  • Ravi Chellam: I think like in most initiatives we need a multi-proned and coordinated approach
  • Pradeep Sharma: Yeah, but that is something required
  • Chris Bowden: Sure... its still preliminary, but evolving fast
  • Ravi Chellam: concentrating just on one aspect and neglecting others is unlikely to work
  • Ravi Chellam: pronged
  • Pradeep Sharma: I agree Sir, It needs to be a well planned and coordinated approach
  • Chris Bowden: Agree... very sorry I must leave now for a meeting, but much appreciate initiative Pradeep, and will discuss more
  • Pradeep Sharma: Thanks Chris
  • Ravi Chellam: I also need to deal with other things including dinner! Good to chat.
  • Susan Sharma: Pradeep, I need to close the chat room in five minutes. Can we sum up?
  • Pradeep Sharma: Yes...
  • Pradeep Sharma: Thank you Ravi sir ..
  • Pradeep Sharma: for joining and providing your precious feesbacks
  • Ravi Chellam: Most welcome.
  • Ravi Chellam: Please drop the sir, the name is just Ravi!
  • Pradeep Sharma: Well any other question that I may try to address as a Vet?
  • Susan Sharma: Thank you Pradeep, Pradeep, Ravi and Chris. You can read the transcript online .
  • Pradeep Sharma: Thanks Susan for providing the platform!
  • Susan Sharma: Thank you and good night.
  • Pradeep Sharma: Good Night
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