unloved vultures fight for their survival
Last Updated : GMT 09:07:40
Egypt Today, egypt today
Egypt Today, egypt today
Last Updated : GMT 09:07:40
Egypt Today, egypt today

in Pakistan

Unloved vultures fight for their survival

Egypt Today, egypt today

Egypt Today, egypt today Unloved vultures fight for their survival

Once a common sight in the skies of Pakistan, today the white-backed vulture is facing extinction.
Changa Manga - AFP

Once a common sight in the skies of Pakistan, today the white-backed vulture is facing extinction -- its population devastated by the use of industrial drugs to breed the cattle whose carcasses they traditionally feed on.

Bird numbers have plummeted by more than 99 percent since the 1990s, according to the local branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which is desperately attempting to ensure the species does not die out.

"Once vultures were found in a very good number in Pakistan," explains Warda Javed, coordinator for the WWF backed Vulture Restoration Project.

But due to several threats -- principally the use of the anti-inflammatory drug Diclofenac, which causes kidney failure the birds are dying out.

In a vast screened enclosure in the eastern forest of Changa Manga, about 100 kilometres from Pakistan's cultural capital Lahore, some 20 Gyps Bengalensis -- or the white-backed vultures -- wait patiently for their dinner, traditionally made of donkey and goat meat.

With plumage of white and ash grey, their powerful beaks fitted to long pink necks, they watch from their wooden perches, some ten metres above the ground. They boast a wingspan of two metres and weigh up to 7.5 kilogrammes.

Locked up, at least they are safe: The goal is to keep the species alive until outside conditions improve enough for them to be released.

Diclofenac is used as a painkiller by livestock breeders in Pakistan. Vultures consume the meat off the carcasses of the cattle and so ingest the drugs, which wreak havoc with their systems.

The WWF is lobbying authorities, veterinarians and pharmaceutical companies for the replacement of Diclofenac with an alternative, Meloxicam, which is safer for the birds.

Diclofenac was banned in neighbouring India in 2006 after it was also blamed for destroying the vulture population there, which went from millions to just a few thousand in little more than a decade, but it remains in use in Pakistan.

- Symbols of death -

At the Vulture Restoration Project in Changa Manga they are playing the long game.

Four vulture babies were born in the last two years through the centre's breeding programme, but it will be years before they are released into the wild.

"Up till 2020, we don't have any release plans until we have a controlled environment outside this centre as well," Javed explains, warning that even if Diclofenac is banned in Pakistan, other drugs used in cattle breeding can cause problems for the birds.

There are eight species of vultures in Pakistan, two of which -- the white-backed vulture and the Indian vulture -- are critically endangered.

Principally scavengers that feast on carcasses, the birds have long been associated with death. An issue compounded on the Indian subcontinent as they have also been used to dispose of human remains as part of the centuries-old tradition of Dakhma, the funeral process of the Zoroastrian community known as the Parsis.

Bodies were first put on top of mountains and later on placed on top of specially-built structures known as 'Towers of Silence', where the flesh was devoured by the birds. But the Parsi community is dwindling in India and Pakistan, and the custom is fading.

The association with death and misfortune, however, still lingers making it hard to galvanise public sympathy for the creatures' dire plight.

Fatima Arif of WWF-Pakistan concedes that for most people, vultures evoke negative emotions, but is hopeful the charity can help them improve their image.

"We are trying to gather the general public to let them know that the myths that are generally associated with this species are not really based on any fact but they are just folklore," she says.

Arif adds: "Vultures are very shy birds, they are very caring parents."

Souece: AFP

egypttoday
egypttoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

unloved vultures fight for their survival unloved vultures fight for their survival



GMT 11:47 2012 Tuesday ,07 August

RAKBANK expands network, opens new branch

GMT 14:57 2011 Monday ,23 May

Udinese reject $49 million bid for Sanchez

GMT 20:47 2017 Monday ,24 April

2 Houthis killed in cashes in Taiz

GMT 07:47 2014 Saturday ,02 August

US screening participants for Ebola

GMT 11:55 2011 Friday ,16 December

Woman gets $6.1 million from unclaimed property

GMT 15:06 2012 Wednesday ,17 October

Mounib calls for mainstream unification

GMT 07:02 2017 Saturday ,07 October

THAAD missile defense system for $15 billion

GMT 10:23 2016 Thursday ,19 May

King Kohli crowned as IPL's highest ever scorer

GMT 16:21 2013 Tuesday ,12 March

International Real Estate Fair starts in Cannes

GMT 14:50 2018 Wednesday ,03 October

Dolce & Gabbana set to host runway show in Dubai

GMT 06:34 2015 Thursday ,22 January

India's Suzlon sells German unit to raise €1bn

GMT 22:17 2017 Saturday ,14 January

Strong Earthquake Strikes Southwest of Fiji

GMT 08:57 2012 Wednesday ,01 February

Souq Waqif Welcomes Spring with festivities

GMT 17:11 2016 Thursday ,15 September

Man swept away by floodwaters in Australia

GMT 23:44 2016 Wednesday ,05 October

German charter flights to Sharm to resume next winter
 
 Egypt Today Facebook,egypt today facebook  Egypt Today Twitter,egypt today twitter Egypt Today Rss,egypt today rss  Egypt Today Youtube,egypt today youtube  Egypt Today Youtube,egypt today youtube

Maintained and developed by Arabs Today Group SAL.
All rights reserved to Arab Today Media Group 2021 ©

Maintained and developed by Arabs Today Group SAL.
All rights reserved to Arab Today Media Group 2021 ©

egypttoday egypttoday egypttoday egypttoday
egypttoday egypttoday egypttoday
egypttoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
egypttoday, Egypttoday, Egypttoday