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Indian Vultures

Why is it in News?

Three Indian Vultures were found dead in Bejjur Forest range of Telangana.

Indian Vultures:

  • The Indian Vulture (Gyps indicus) is an old world vulture native to India, Pakistan and Nepal. It has been listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List since 2002, as the population severely declined.

Cause of Decline in the Population:

  • Vultures usually act as scavengers, i.e. they feed on the carcass of animals. A drug called ‘Diclofenac’ was given to animals / cattles to increase their strength, relieve pain and increase milk production. When the vultures fed on the carcass of the animals injected with Diclofenac, it led to the renal failure of the Vultures leading to decline in their population exponentially.

If Diclofenac led to the killing of Vultures, why is it used?

Government came with an alternative - Meloxicam, but since it is costlier, people generally inject the cattles with Diclofenac instead of Meloxicam.

IUCN Status of other Vultures:

Slender Billed Vultures, White Rumped Vultures & Indian Vultures are listed as ‘Critically Endangered.’

Cinerous Vultures:

  • The Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus) is a large raptorial bird that is distributed through much of Eurasia.
  • It is also known as the black vulture, monk vulture, or Eurasian black vulture.
  • It generally occupies forests, grasslands and shrub lands.
  • During winters, it migrates from mountainous region of Europe to Asia (including India).
  • It is listed as ‘Near Threatened’ in the IUCN Red List and is present in Appendix II of CITES.
Source: TH, Down to Earth