Gyps indicus indicus
Indian vulture (
Gyps indicus) is an
Old World vulture
Old World vulture native to
Pakistan and Nepal. It has been listed as Critically Endangered
IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List since 2002, as the population severely declined.
Indian vultures died of renal failure caused by diclofenac
poisoning. It breeds mainly on hilly crags in central and
peninsular India. The birds in the northern part of its range once
considered a subspecies are now treated as a separate species, the
Gyps tenuirostris. These were lumped together
under the name long-billed vulture.
3 Status and conservation
3.1 Population declines
3.2 Captive-breeding programmes
5 External links
Indian vulture is medium in size and bulky. Its body and covert
feathers are pale, its quills are darker. Its wings are broad and its
tail feathers short. Its head and neck are almost bald, and its bill
is rather long.
It usually is 80–103 cm (31–41 in) long and has a wing
span of 1.96 to 2.38 m (6.4 to 7.8 ft). It weighs
5.5–6.3 kg (12–14 lb). It is smaller and less heavily
built than the Eurasian griffon. It is distinguished from that
species by its less buff body and wing coverts. It also lacks the
whitish median covert bar shown by griffons.
The species breeds mainly on cliffs, but is known to use trees to nest
in Rajasthan. It may also breed on high human-made structures (like
the Chaturbhuj Temple in the picture). Like other vultures it is a
scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals which it
finds by soaring over savannah and around human habitation. They often
move in flocks.
Status and conservation
Long-billed vulture in flight
Indian vulture crisis
Indian vulture and the white-rumped vulture, G. bengalensis
species have suffered a 99%–97% population decrease in Bangladesh,
Pakistan and India. Between 2000-2007 annual decline rates of this
species and the slender-billed vulture averaged over sixteen
percent. The cause of this has been identified as poisoning caused
by the veterinary drug diclofenac.
Diclofenac is a non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and when given to working animals it
can reduce joint pain and so keep them working for longer. The drug is
believed to be swallowed by vultures with the flesh of dead cattle who
were given diclofenac in the last days of life.
Diclofenac causes kidney failure in several species of vultures. In
March 2006 the Indian Government announced its support for a ban on
the veterinary use of diclofenac. Another NSAID, meloxicam, has been
found to be harmless to vultures and should prove to be an acceptable
substitute for diclofenac. When meloxicam production is increased it
is hoped that it will be as cheap as diclofenac. As of August 2011 the
ban for veterinary use for approximately a year did not prevent
diclofenac use across India. Small numbers of birds have bred
across peninsular India, in
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In essence,
the decline in the
Indian vulture has drastically affect the
conservation of the environment. By removing all carcasses, vultures
help decreases pollution as well as refrain other animals to feed off
of poisonous remains. 
At nest (Orchha, India)
Captive-breeding programmes for several species of
Indian vulture have
been started. The vultures are long lived and slow in breeding, so the
programmes are expected to take decades. Vultures reach breeding age
at about five years old. It is hoped that captive-bred birds will be
released to the wild when the environment is clear of diclofenac.
In early 2014 the Saving Asia's Vultures from Extinction (Save)
programme announced that it expects to start releasing captive-bred
birds into the wild by 2016.
Two captive Himalayan Griffon vultures were released in June, 2016
Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre, Pinjore
Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre, Pinjore as part of Asia's
first vulture re-introduction program. 
^ a b
BirdLife International (2016). "
IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List of
Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. International Union for
Conservation of Nature.
^ Ferguson-Lees, J. and Christie, D.A. (2001). Raptors of the world.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.ISBN 0-618-12762-3
^ "The Peregrine Fund". The Peregrine Fund. 2010-11-03. Retrieved
^ "BirdLife Fact Sheet: Indian vulture". BirdLife International.
Retrieved 11 August 2014.
^ Jagga, Raakhi (7 August 2011). "Banned diclofenac still kills
vultures". Express India. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
^ Oppili, P. (7 November 2013). "Long-billed
Vulture sighted after 40
years". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
^ Prakash, Vibhu; Bishwakarma, Mohan Chandra; Chaudhary, Anand;
Cuthbert, Richard; Dave, Ruchi; Kulkarni, Mandar; Kumar, Sashi;
Paudel, Khadananda; Ranade, Sachin (2012-11-07). "The Population
Gyps Vultures in
India and Nepal Has Slowed since
Veterinary Use of
Diclofenac was Banned". PLOS ONE. 7 (11): e49118.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049118. ISSN 1932-6203.
^ Kinver, Mark (31 Jan 2014). "Project targets 2016 for Asian vultures
release". BBC News. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
^ "Asia's first vulture re-introduction programme launched in
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Conserving Asia's critically endangered vultures
Vulture Territory Facts and Characteristics: Long Billed Griffon
"Saving Asia's Vultures from Extinction" Consortium
Conservation of Vultures in Konkan region
Cathartidae (New World vultures)
Turkey vulture (
Lesser yellow-headed vulture
Lesser yellow-headed vulture (
Greater yellow-headed vulture
Greater yellow-headed vulture (
American black vulture (Coragyps atratus)
King vulture (Sarcoramphus papa)
California condor (Gymnogyps californianus)
Andean condor (Vultur gryphus)
Accipitridae: Gypaetinae (eagle-vultures)
Madagascan serpent eagle
Madagascan serpent eagle (Eutriorchis astur)
Palm-nut vulture (Gypohierax angolensis)
Madagascan harrier-hawk (
African harrier-hawk (
Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus)
Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)
Accipitridae: Gypinae (Old World vultures)
Red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus)
White-headed vulture (Trigonoceps occipitalis)
Cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus)
Lappet-faced vulture (Torgos tracheliotos)
Hooded vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus)
White-rumped vulture (
Himalayan vulture (
White-backed vulture (
Rüppell's vulture (
Griffon vulture (
Indian vulture (
Slender-billed vulture (
Cape vulture (
Indian vulture crisis