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ICBP and Vulture Conservation

ICBP and Vulture Conservation


Because of our extensive and long-term experience in captive breeding, many of the conservation programmes that we are involved in around the world reflect the need for that expertise.

We have been working in South Asia now for nearly two decades. The South Asian vulture crisis is well documented where 99.5 percent of three species of Gyps vultures have died due to the Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAIDs) Diclofenac.

ICBP has been working with SAVE (Save Asian Vultures from Extinction) to stop the extinction of these vitally important birds. Sadly, because vultures do not have a great press and are not as charismatic as for example tigers or elephants it is not always easy to get governments and the public to understand how important they are. And indeed, vultures are crucial to the health of the environment and to people.

We designed the original conservation breeding programme and trained the staff in the husbandry and breeding of the three species of vultures – the Oriental White-rumped Vulture, the Long-billed Vulture and the very rare Slender Billed Vulture. We go over to India and Nepal regularly every year to continue our work and keep the breeding programme and the inevitable conservation politics on track, working hand in hand with the RSPB.

From small beginnings and successes, the conservation breeding programme is now being extremely effective, and many young are being bred, with second generation vultures are also being produced. In fact, we are so successful that we are now having to hold back the breeding in India until we can safely start releases.
In Nepal I am delighted to be able to say that the first releases have already started. Nepal has lead the way with Vulture Safe Zones (VSZ’s) and we considered that as the wild populations were now stable and slowly increasing it was time for releases.

We designed the release programme and it was a pleasure to see the first six birds released in November 2017. All released birds are satellite tagged and so far apart from one casualty from a ground predator, all are doing well, and one is breeding with a wild bird, which is excellent news. At the same time in India where the populations of vultures are still declining work is being done to find a second safe NSAID that can be used by vets for treating cattle. Also to identify any new drugs that are as dangerous to vultures as diclofenac has shown to be.

For more information go to the SAVE website  


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