Burning Issues

Asia'sCritically Endangered Vultures

Asia'sCritically Endangered Vultures
-Courtesy Chris Bowden

SAVE( Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction ) is a consortium of 21 partners and many more associated organisations, with backing of Governments of Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Nepal and Pakistan, sharing the goal to identify and implement the priority actions (based on scientific evidence) that are urgently needed to conserve Asia’s Critically Endangered vultures. 

As documented in their 7th Annual meeting held in 2018, the achievements in protecting the endangered vultures till date are as under
  • Govt ban of ketoprofen and aceclofenac declared in Bangladesh
  • First releases of captive-reared white-rumped vultures in Nepal (& satellite tracking of 11 wild birds)
  • Successfully upholding the multi-dose-vial ban in India (winning the challenge in Madras High court case brought by two pharma companies)
  • Initiation of NSAID safety-testing program on vultures by IVRI started for tolfenamic acid o Population trends in Nepal for wild white-rumped vultures now positive where diclofenac use has been stopped
  • The first F2 generation white-rumped vulture offspring (ie both parents were hatched in captivity) for the programme were fledged at Pinjore centre.
  • Increasing Government support and resources for breeding and release programme in India

The updated priorities for 2018 are,
  • Veterinary licenses to be withdrawn for two drugs – ketoprofen and aceclofenac - based on the good existing evidence that they are unsafe for vultures.
  • An effective system of regulation of veterinary drugs, based upon safety-testing on vultures is continued for all current painkillers (NSAIDs) and for all potential new ones entering veterinary practice.
  • Evaluate safety to vultures of nimesulide as a priority.
  • Identify additional vulture safe NSAIDs (alternatives for vets).
  • Defend and communicate the 2015 multi-dose ban of human diclofenac formulations to relevant authorities & stakeholders (India).
  • Major efforts urgently needed within South Asia to address the immediate and increasing gap in funding for vulture conservation
  • Promotion of network and approach of ‘Vulture Safe Zones’ across South Asia with expansion to include trans-boundary cooperative efforts.
  • Maintain and support the existing vulture conservation breeding programmes throughout South Asia.
  • Create a safe environment for further soft releases of captive vultures at identified sites (100km radius) in Nepal and first soft releases in India in 2018, requiring satellite monitoring of the released birds.
  • Improved availability of well-formulated meloxicam products thereby facilitating their popularity with veterinary practitioners.
  • Use the Convention of Migratory Species’ Vulture Multi-species Action Plan as a tool to promote SAVE priority actions and engage with governments. Inform CMS about significant changes (e.g. changes to threats) in the SAVE region.
  • Closely support National Vulture Recovery Committees and the Regional Steering Committee in order to facilitate the urgent implementation of the 2012 Delhi Regional Agreement and SAVE priorities.
White rumped vulture
Photo Pradeep Sharma

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