The Indian Vulture, Gyps indicus, is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. This robust and scruffy scavenger used to be found in villages, towns and cities near cultivated and wooded areas in south-eastern Pakistan and India.
Like other vulture species, the Indian Vulture has suffered serious declines since the late 1990s, losing as much as 99 percent of its population. Vultures were discovered to be suffering from kidney failure following the consumption of cattle that had previously been treated with the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac. Rotting carcasses now remain untouched, causing health hazards, as well as encouraging feral dog populations which may carry rabies.
Strong government commitment has been given to the prevention of any use of this drug and for its complete removal from the environment, but supplies are still being used, sometimes in ignorance of their effects. The Indian Vulture will also benefit from a new captive breeding programme, raised awareness and further monitoring.