Vultures which used to be very common in Indian countryside some years ago are rarely seen nowadays. This is attributed to
[UPSC Civil Services Exam – 2012 Prelims]
(a) the destruction of their nesting sites by new invasive species
(b) a drug used by cattle owners for treating their diseased cattle
(c) scarcity of food available to them
(d) a widespread, persistent and fatal disease among them
- The use of the painkiller diclofenac to treat livestock in the Indian subcontinent was causing vultures to die from kidney failure after consuming the treated carcasses.
- In July 2008, the Government of India banned diclofenac and its formulations for veterinary use to conserve vultures.
- However, in July 2015, it was allowed as a single-dose injection for humans only.
- Wildlife veterinarians suggest that food poisoning is the main reason for vulture deaths, as the birds feed on dead animals treated with diclofenac.