Egyptian Vultures near Hassan, Karnataka

Ananth H V
The dark brown birds in the foreground are juveniles.

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Egyptian Vultures are an endangered species and it is highly satisfying to see them in good numbers. The vulture population in India started to fall dramatically in the early '90s and declined by almost 99% by 2008.

I spotted a group of over 25 Egyptian Vultures on 12th January 2013, near Hassan, Karnataka. A research paper by scientists from the Bombay Natural History Society (BHNS) shows that the number of vultures in the country increased marginally between 2011 and 2012. While it is heartening to hear of the stabilization, vulture populations are hardly out of the woods, until Diclofenac, the killer veterinary drug that wiped out vultures, is truly eliminated. Its use continues despite a ban. As if Diclofenac was not enough, vultures are now facing potential danger from yet another mass-produced pharmaceutical painkiller called Aceclofenac administered to cattle, according to the latest issue of the globally acclaimed ‘Journal of Raptor Research’.

Editor’s note: The plight of vultures has been widely covered on Conservation India. A simple search on vultures yields the articles and news items in question.

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