Veterinary medicine killing vultures in India: Ministry

New Delhi, March 5 (IANS) A veterinary medicine, Diclofenac, is the main reason behind the rapidly declining vulture numbers in the country, the health ministry said Friday.

‘Studies have indicated that use of Diclofenac in livestock is the major cause of vulture decline. Vultures are exposed to Diclofenac when they consume carcasses of cattle that were administered this drug,’ Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Dinesh Trivedi informed the Lok Sabha.

He said the government has already banned the use of Diclofenac and its formulations for animal use.

‘There are alternative medications like Meloxicam, Nimesulide etc., which are permitted for animal use in the country,’ the minister added.

According to official estimates, the vulture numbers in the country has declined by over 95 percent in last 12 years. They have been also put under the category of critically endangered species in the country.

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