White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis) conservation in Bangladesh: Establishment of toxic drug free Vulture Safe Zones (VSZ) and Monitoring of the Population trend
Bangladesh has records of seven species of vultures. Of these seven species, White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Slender-billed Vulture (G. tenuirostris) are available in Bangladesh and endemic to South Asia.
The White-rumped Vulture was once widely distributed in Bangladesh but now considered as rare and thinly distributed with a population of less than 1,000 individuals. During last decade, it is scientifically proven beyond doubt that the use of Diclofenac (A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) in animals especially in cattle has led to massive mortality and a sharp decline in vulture population. The mechanism which causes the death is renal failure, a known side effect of Diclofenac.
Vultures eat the carcasses of livestock that have been administered veterinary Diclofenac, and are poisoned by the accumulated chemical, as vultures do not have a particular enzyme in their body to break down Diclofenac. Moreover, Losses of habitat and reduction in food availability have also been attributed for decline in population. Now it is Critically Endangered and facing high risk of extinction due to rapid population decline.
Saving Asia’s Critically Endangered vultures from extinction, IUCN Bangladesh in close collaboration with Bangladesh Forest Department has taken initiative on White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis) conservation in Bangladesh: Establishment of toxic drug free Vulture Safe Zones (VSZ) and Monitoring of the Population trend which is a sub-project component of the "Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection' Project" from the Bangladesh Forest Department funded by World Bank. The work formally began in March 2014 and is for two years.
Objectives of the project
- The main objective of the project is to establish a sustainable Vulture population in the country by preventing the decline of the population through establishing number of Vulture Safe Zones (VSZs) across the country. These VSZs will be free from Diclofenac and other untested veterinary drugs and will have adequate number of trees suitable for vultures to nest. These zones will be managed by local communities under the guidance of local forest department officials. A long term monitoring plan and guideline will be developed to monitor vulture population, breeding and the use of veterinary drugs (mainly Diclofenac and Meloxicam) throughout the VSZ in order to know the population trend.
- The overall goal of the project is to help establishing “An institutional mechanism in place towards a toxic drug free zone for White-rumped Vulture in Bangladesh”.
Achievement of the above objectives is designed to be based on the following project outputs/activities:
1. Vulture Safe Zone identified, mapped & gazetteed in the project areas:
2. An institutional mechanism established for conservation and management of vulture safe zone:
3. Reduction of usage in Diclofenac and other untested veterinary drugs from veterinary usages in the VSZ:
For more details, please contact
A B M Sarowar Alam
White-rumped Vulture Conservation in Bangladesh project
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature
Bangladesh Country Office, House 16, Road 2/3, Banani,
Dhaka 1213. Ext.143; Phone: +88029890395; +88029890423