Vultures on verge of extinction in Nepal

22nd Feb, 2017 | Tourism Mail Crew

BAITADI : The vultures known as the nature's scavengers are alarmingly on verge of extinction with dwindling nesting habitats compounded by a host of other factors.

The vultures are vanishing due to climate change, shrinking habitation, use of medicines and lack of prey. The absence of tall trees has also deprived them of a place to build nests, Community Forest Consumer Federation, Baitadi Chairman Chakra Prasad Sharma shared. "The villagers are cutting down trees citing less production in the irrigated fields which has resulted in less number of trees used to build nests," Sharma said.

Bird Conservation Nepal had recorded 12 nests in Baitadi last year. Sharma argued that governmental and local level effort could help conserve the endangered species. The use of diclofenac medicine, a veterinary drug present in the livestock carcasses that vultures scavenge, has largely contributed in causing the extinction of the bird of prey. The drug is used in the treatment of livestock.

The drug affects vultures' kidneys, which lead to their death. The locals have also been making use of their dead livestock. If a buffalo dies they use its meat as food but a dead cow or ox is buried in the ground which has resulted in shrinking food for vultures, District Livestock Service Office, Baitadi Chief Dr Nabin Ghimire said.

There are a total of 23 different species of vultures found across the globe. Among them South Asia is home to 9 species while Nepal is home to 8 species of vultures including Himalayan vulture, Egyptian vulture, white rumped vulture, slender-billed vulture, red headed vulture, cinereous vulture, griffon vulture and bearded vulture.