Thursday, February 02, 2006

More Hope for Indian Vultures

In recent decades, the populations of several vulture species in India have crashed due to the use of diclonfenac, a drug used in the cattle industry. Thanks to the availability of an alternative that does not harm vultures, the Indian government is now moving to ban diclonfenac. Despite the coming ban, it will take some time for the vulture population to rebound, as these species are slow breeders. A captive breeding program will be used to boost the population.

Vultures are an important part of any ecosystem as they are among the most efficient scavengers. They break down carcasses of many types of animals, and in doing so help to slow the spread of disease. And with more vultures, there will be fewer undesirable scavengers such as feral dogs or rats.

In India, they also play a ceremonial role as people in certain areas leave their dead out to be eaten by vultures.