Second breeding centre for Asia's vanishing vultures
Work is beginning in West Bengal on a second captive-breeding centre for three Asian species of Gyps vulture, which have declined catastrophically in recent years.
The vultures suffer kidney failure and death after feeding on carcasses of cattle treated with diclofenac, an antiinflammatory drug, which in the 1990s was introduced for veterinary use across the Indian subcontinent. Four more breeding centres are planned, in an attempt to create reservoirs of birds to be re-introduced once the environment is clear of diclofenac. Meanwhile, 44 birds, equal numbers of Indian and White-rumped Vultures (gryps indicus and G. bengalensis), have been brought toghter at the first captive breeding centre at Haryana, India. Two additorial colony aviaries, with trees and artificial ledges for nesting, have been built at Haryana, providing facilities for a further 40 pairs.