The clean­up crew we need(The Hindu, GS-3, Environment)

Context:- Vultures are very important in the ecosystem because they are  scavengers. In between 1990s and by the mid ­2000s, India lost more than 95% of its vulture population.The country requires urgent conservation efforts to save vultures from becoming extinct and to save the ecosystem as well.

Why has the vulture population decreased?

  • The vulture population declined to a new low and The main reason for this is the use of the drug, diclofenac. 
  • Diclofenac is toxic to vultures even in small doses which relieves cattle of pain and causes kidney failure and death.
  • Medicinal healing powers of vultures’ body parts has led to the hunting of vultures.
  • vulture nests have also declined because of Quarrying and blasting of stones for infrastructure. 

Effect of declined vulture population:-

  • The number of feral dog populations has  increased. 
  • The health hazards associated with feral dogs are well known.

What has the government done?

  • India banned diclofenac for veterinary use in 2006. 
  • Five States are to get vulture breeding centres under the  Action Plan for Vulture Conservation for 2020­-2025.
  • There are no rescue centres for treating vultures as of now, so this too has been mooted under the Plan. 
  • Vulture restaurants exist in some countries and are also a way of preserving the population.

Way forward:-

  • Awareness and action must go hand in hand.