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Oriental White Backed Vulture | UPSC Study Notes


  • The white-rumped vulture is an Old World vulture native to South and Southeast Asia

  • It has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2000, as the population severely declined

  • In 2020, eight critically endangered oriental white-backed captive-bred vultures were released into the wild for the first time in India from the Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre in Pinjore, Haryana.

  • After the release from Pinjore, 31 oriental white-backed vultures were released in batches in West Bengal in 2021

  • The BNHS and Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB) have been managing four Jatayu conservation breeding centres across the country in partnership with the State governments of Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Assam. 

  • Through this conservation breeding programme, the BNHS-RSPB has bred more than 700 birds in captivity since 2004.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

  • Vultures play a crucial role in the ecosystem by scavenging and consuming animal carcasses 

  • However, in the late 1990s, a rapid decline in vulture populations was observed in South Asia.

  • Vultures were exposed to NSAIDs like diclofenac, ketoprofen, and meloxicam through the carcasses of livestock treated with these drugs before death.

  • NSAIDs are toxic to vultures, causing kidney failure and visceral gout, a condition where uric acid accumulates in the internal organs, leading to severe health issues.

  • Vultures were not immediately killed after consuming the contaminated carcasses; instead, they experienced delayed toxic effects over time, leading to population declines.

  • The population of some vulture species, like the Indian vulture (Gyps indicus), the white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis), and the slender-billed vulture (Gyps tenuirostris), declined drastically by over 95% in a short period.

  • The decline of vultures had severe ecological consequences, as unchecked carcasses led to an increase in feral dog populations and the spread of diseases like anthrax and botulism.

  • After understanding the link between NSAIDs and vulture decline, India, Nepal, and Pakistan implemented a ban on the veterinary use of diclofenac and other toxic NSAIDs in 2006 to protect vultures.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Oriental White Backed Vulture | UPSC Study Notes
Oriental White Backed Vulture | UPSC Study Notes
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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