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Vibhu Prakash

Saving Asia's Vultures from Extinction

Populations of three formerly abundant species of vulture endemic to Asia collapsed in the 1990s over a huge area covering India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Scientific research identified the veterinary drug diclofenac as the main the cause of these declines.

SAVE was established in 2011 as a consortium to co-ordinate and drive forward the ambitious long-term international conservation effort without which the Critically Endangered oriental white-backed (Gyps bengalensis), long-billed (G. indicus) and slender-billed vulture (G.tenuirostris) would go extinct.  These species are breeding residents in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, and Cambodia, and alsohave non-breeding or marginal status in Afghanistan, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.

A further two species, the Critically Endangered red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus) and the Endangered Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) have also undergone declines, and while the cause has not yet been established, the finger of suspicion is pointing at diclofenac.

The subcontinent-wide decline in Asian vultures has attracted the attention of the world’s conservation community. SAVE is a collaboration between a large and growing number of conservation and research groups. Our mission statement is “To respond to the vulture crisis in Asia by striving to halt vulture population declines and working to minimise their negative impacts on ecological and human health”.

Summary of key actions
  1. Rapid removal of diclofenac and other drugs toxic to vultures from their food supply in key areas defined as Vulture Safe Zones (VSZs) where vulture populations remain. See Vulture Safe Zones.
  2. Removal of diclofenac and other toxic drugs from the whole of the species’ range to enable spread of birds from VSZs, with appropriate regulation, monitoring and enforcement, and testing of new drugs. See vulture declines.
  3. Captive breeding of vultures to ensure that the species do not go extinct and to provide a pool from which to re-establish wild populations. See captive breeding.

We co-ordinate recovery efforts across vulture range countries, provide scientific and other advice, and help with publicity and fund-raising. SAVE is not a legally constituted body and does not have an office or independent staff, and we are open to new partners

Write to us

SAVE Programme Manager,
International Species Recovery,
RSPB, The Lodge,
Sandy, Bedfordshire,
SG19 2DL, UK

contact@save-vultures.org
+44 (0) 1767 680 551

    Charity Number: 207076

    Copyright RSPB 2016