Brain Booster for UPSC & State PCS Examination (Topic: Vulture Action Plan: 2020-25)

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Topic: Vulture Action Plan: 2020-25

Vulture Action Plan: 2020-25

Why in News?

  • Recently, Union Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister launched a 2020-25 Vulture Action Plan for vulture conservation in the country.
  • While the ministry has been leading a vulture conservation project since 2006, the plan now is to extend the project until 2025 to not only halt the decline, but also actively increase the number of vultures in India.


  • The number of vultures has seen a sharp decline – up to 90 percent in some species – in India since the 1990s in one of the most drastic declines in bird populations in the world.
  • Between the 1990s and 2007, the number of three currently critically endangered species – the white-backed, long-billed and slender-billed vultures – crashed in mass, with 99% of the species being wiped out.
  • The number of red-headed vultures, also currently critically endangered, decreased by 91% while Egyptian vultures by 80%.
  • The Egyptian vulture is listed as ‘endangered’, while the Himalayan, bearded and cinerous vultures are ‘near threatened’.
  • The MoEFCC published the 2006 Vulture Conservation Action Plan with DCGI banning veterinary use of diclofenac in the same year and the decline in the vulture population halted by 2011.

Reason for the Decline

  • The crash of vulture populations came to light in the mid-1990s and in 2004 the cause of the crash was established as diclofenac – a veterinary nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat pain and inflammatory diseases such as gout – in carcasses. that the vultures would feed.
  • Just 4-0.7 per cent of animal carcasses contaminated with diclofenac was sufficient to decimate 99 per cent of vulture populations.
  • Vultures Species found in India
  • There are nine recorded species of vultures in India –
  • White-backed,
  • Long-billed,
  • Slender-billed Oriental,
  • Himalayan,
  • Red-headed,
  • Egyptian,
  • Bearded,
  • Cinere,
  • The Eurasian Griffin.

Important objectives for the Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020-2025 (APVC)

  • Prevent the poisoning of the principal food of vultures, the cattle carcasses, with veterinary NSAIDs, by ensuring that sale of veterinary NSAIDs is regulated and is disbursed only on prescription and by ensuring that treatment of livestock is done only by qualified veterinarians.
  • Carry out safety testing of available molecules of veterinary NSAIDs on vultures. The new molecules should be introduced in the market only after they are proved to be safe following safety testing on vultures.
  • The Drugs Controller General of India must institute a system that automatically removes a drug from veterinary use if it is found to be toxic to vultures. Such a system would ensure that drugs other than diclofenac that are toxic to vultures like aceclofenac and ketoprofen are banned for veterinary use.
  • There is a need to establish additional Conservation Breeding Centres in the country. Currently, there are 8 Vulture Conservation Breeding Centres in different parts of the country. While the primary focus of these centres is breeding of vultures, they also serve as Vulture Conservation Centres.

Other Efforts

  • The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) also set up the Vulture Conservation Breeding Program, which has successfully bred three critically endangered species in captivity for the first time. extinction.
  • The ministry has also launched conservation plans for red and Egyptian vultures, with breeding programs for both.
  • Ensuring minimal use of Diclofenac and an area is declared a vulture safe zone only when no toxic drugs are found in secret pharmacies and carcass surveys. livestock, for two consecutive years, and vulture populations stable and not declining.
  • The action plan aims to implement what has already been implemented by ensuring that the sale of veterinary NSAIDs is regulated and that livestock are treated only by qualified veterinarians.