Photo credit: Beverly Joubert
The White-rumped Vulture, Gyps bengalensis, is listed as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. Large numbers used to be seen soaring above villages, towns and cities throughout southern Asia, and it was thought to be the most abundant large bird of prey in the world – probably numbering several million individuals. Now, less than 10,000 exist in the wild.
The abrupt population decline was thought to be due to a fatal virus, but testing revealed it was attributable to the effects of feeding on carcasses treated with the veterinary drug diclofenac. Local people are affected by the decline in the number of White-rumped Vultures, as rotting carcasses remain untouched, creating potential health hazards or even attracting rabid feral dogs.
Captive breeding programmes have been set up alongside initiatives to help raise public awareness of this Critically Endangered vulture. A substitute drug has been found to replace diclofenac, which has been banned in the Indian subcontinent, but stocks are still available and its use has not yet been completely eliminated.
To learn more about the White-rumped Vulture, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.
To learn more about the Bush Warriors “Species of the Day” feature, please click here and read up on our initiative to raise awareness about the loss of earth’s biodiversity.