Vulture poisoning through diclofenac
what is diclofenac
Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that was used in veterinary medicine through the 1990s in Southeast Asia. If a cow died after receiving the drug, the medicine remained in its system and was often consumed by vultures, causing them to die of kidney failure. (Peregrine Fund)
The different species present in India and southern Asia included the Oriental White-backed, the Long-billed, the Slender-billed, the Red-headed, and the Egyptian Vultures.
Between 1992 and 2000, populations of some species declined by 97-99%.
- Diclofenac poses a risk to vultures- it causes kidney failure and death, and has the potential to affect hundreds of animals at a time.
- A number of solutions are available
- Ban it- remove Diclofenac from available markets will protect vultures from exposure.
- Enforce the Ban- Despite its known toxicity, it was approved for use in Spain and Italy, it is still heavily used in India, despite its ban. While it is banned for veterinary use, Diclofenac is still manufactured for humans and is done so in unnecessarily high doses which are convenient for vets to buy and use illegally.
- Replace it- Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). There are multiple vulture safe options available, most notably meloxicam.
more resources and articles
Indian Vultures Are Dying for Some Good News
John R. Platt
23 October 2014
Cattle drug threatens thousands of vultures
Modelling study paints bleak picture for Europe’s bird populations.
29 April 2016
Suspected flunixin poisoning of a wild Eurasian Griffon Vulture from Spain
Irene Zorrilla, Rosa Martinez, Mark A. Taggart, Ngaio Richards
9 October 2014