Our Neighborhood's Biodiversity Map

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Asia
Gyps bengalensis PLoS * To See the original image, please click the image
Shared by : Prashant Bhandari and Rahul Acharya (Nepal)
Region : Southern and Southeastern Asia
Status : Critically Endangered
Introduction
White Rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis) is a species of vulture which has unfeathered neck, bill is brown, and neck is black, rump is white. Their body length is around 73-90 cm and weighs around 3.5-6 kg. They build nests in big trees near human. They are seen in Chitwan. It is listed as Critically Endangered species by IUCN. Extensive research has identified the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac to be the cause behind this rapid population collapse (Green et al. 2004, Oaks et al. 2004a, Shultz et al. 2004, Swan et al . 2005). This drug, used to treat domestic livestock, is ingested by vultures feeding on their carcasses, leading to renal failure and causing visceral gout (Oaks et al. 2004a,b Swan et al. 2005, Gilbert et al. 2006). Government of Nepal has put ban on production, import and use of veterinary diclofenac in june 2006, and has implemented Vulture Conservation Action plan (2009-13). This action plan prevents the extinction of vulture by ensuring re-introduction, maintenance of habitat, and most importantly safe food supply. Since March 2008, community in Pithauli, Nawalparsi is managing a ‘Vulture Restaurant’ to conserve Vultures where community acquires old cows, usually free of cost and maintains a ranch and treat the cow for 7 days with meloxicam to wash out any traces of diclofenac. UNDP Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme has supported Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN), a National NGO, dedicated to conserving the birds in Nepal, for the management of community vulture restaurant. The project has trained local community to manage cow ranch, vulture restaurant and proper record keeping. The Bird Conservation Nepal, with the support from local communities in Bardaghat is replicating vulture restaurant in other places also.

They occur mostly on plain and rarely found on hilly region. Population: 3500-15,000 .Population trend is decreasing. Sadly, they suffered catastrophic decline during mid 1990( almost 99%) threatening them to the extinction. Local Ecology: They are highly preferred for they clear the dead domestic animals and has additional ecological values. Major threat: The anti-inflammatory veterinary drug diclofenac, used to treat domestic livestock, has been identified as the cause of mortality, with renal failure resulting in visceral gout in the vast majority of examined vultures (Oaks et al. 2004a, Shultz et al. 2004, Swan et al. 2005, Gilbert et al. 2006).
Efforts
These are protected under CITES Appendix II. CMS Appendix II. Also Government of Nepal has passed a bill to ban the manufacture and importation of diclofenac as a veterinary drug on 2006. They are protected at various national parks of Nepal. The exchange of diclofenac with meloxicam near breeding colonies is taking place in Nepal in combination with diversionary feeding with diclofenac-free carcasses (Chaudhary et al. 2010). Captive breeding is another popular culture that is gaining momentum in vulture conservation. on 2008 there were 14 Vultures in Captvity in Nepal which leaped to 43 during 2009.

References :
IUCN Red List, Birdlife.org
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-backed_vulture (Date: 18 May 2015)
http://www.birdlifenepal.org/project-detail.php?id=46
http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=3374
http://nepalibirds.blogspot.com/2013/01/white-rumped-vulture-in-nepal.html

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