Experts on Wednesday urged the veterinarians to give up the practice diclofenac and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, those are harmful for vulture, in the domestic animals.
“Vulture is a natural cleaner. It is the only bird which can digest all kinds of germs, no other bird or animal can do so.
If vulture disappears from environment, many diseases will break out epidemically,” Bangladesh Bird Club president Enam Ul Haque told a discussion at Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU).
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and BAU jointly organized the seminar and open discussion, titled ‘Safe Drug and Vulture Conservation in Bangladesh’.
BAU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Ali Akbar was present in the discussion as chief guest while Prof Dr Abdus Samad presided over the program.
IUCN program coordinator Dr Haseeb Md Irfanullah, Divisional Forest Officer Gobinda Roy and Bangladesh Bird Club president Enam Ul Haque address the discussion as special guest with Prof Dr Rafiqul Haque as moderator.
Bangladesh has records of seven species of vultures. Of these seven species, white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Slender-billed Vulture are found in Bangladesh. The white-rumped vulture was once widely seen in Bangladesh but now its population came down below 500.
Speaking on the occasion IUCN program coordinator Dr Haseeb Md Irfanullah said vultures are able to digest the germs. If the vulture goes extinct, it will be dangerous for the human health and environment, he added.
Over the last decade, it is scientifically proven beyond doubt that the use of diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, in animals, especially in cattle, has led to massive mortality and a sharp decline in vulture population. The mechanism which causes the death is renal failure, a known side effect of diclofenac, according to experts.
Vultures eat the carcasses of livestock that have been administered veterinary diclofenac, and are poisoned by the accumulated chemical, as vultures do not have a particular enzyme in their bodies to break down diclofenac. Ketoprofen and flunixin meglumin are also causes same problem in the vultures, but in lesser degree.
The experts observed that the loss of habitat and reduction in food availability have also been attributed for decline in population. Now, it is critically endangered and facing high risk of extinction due to rapid population decline.
Saving Asia’s critically endangered vultures from extinction, IUCN Bangladesh in close collaboration with Bangladesh Forest Department has taken an initiative on white-rumped vulture conservation in Bangladesh. The work formally began in March 2014 and is for two years.