Wild Asian vultures going the way of the dodo
Wild Asian vultures are likely going to the way of the dodo, a new study says. The white-backed vulture population has plunged by nearly 99.9 percent in India since 1992, and two other vulture species have seen a drop of 97 percent, say researchers publishing in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. Researchers blame diclofenac, a drug given to livestock and ingested by the birds when they snack on carrion. Unless diclofenac is banned and more birds are able to be bred in captivity, the vultures will be extinct within a decade, say researchers. The vulture decline is already a public-health problem in India: less vultures means more animal carcasses rotting in the open, which in turn has caused more disease and rabies in rats and stray dogs.