CBD COP11, Rio Conventions Pavilion TV (10/10/2012) – Scott Perkin PhD, Head of the Regional Diversity Conservation Programme in IUCN’s Asia Ecosystem and Livelihoods Group, discusses the rapid decline in vulture populations across South Asia and the work being done to resolve the problem.
Perkin explains that the vulture population in India alone once stood at 40 million birds but over a very short time this has declined to just a few thousand vultures, with three species considered critically endangered.
Many hypotheses have been put forward to attempt to explain the decline, but Perkins explains that the latest peer reviewed studies have found a vetinary drug which causes kidney failure in vultures when consumed via dead livestock to be the most importance cause in the decline in population.
Perkin praises India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal for taking swift action on the issue: those nations have all banned the drug in question. Work is being done at COP11 to better co-ordinate work undertaken by these four nations. Perkin is optimistic that the problem will be resolved – he says that field studies are already showing the decline to be slowing and the levels of the drug in cattle carcasses to be decreasing. However Perkins see more work to be done: the drug is still available for human use and is still making its way into livestock, although in much reduced quantities.