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Old 09-13-2009, 09:15 PM   #1
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Default Pakistan- Carrion birds get their chance in the spotlight

Carrion birds get their chance in the spotlight
Saturday, September 05, 2009

Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan
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Vultures are an ecologically vital group of birds that face a wide range of threats in many areas where they are naturally occurring, according to a WWF press release issued on Friday. Vultures clean the environment by eating dead animals and also prevent disease-causing organisms from spreading beyond the decaying carcasses. However, despite the important role played by vultures in maintaining the ecological balance, the populations of many vultures are under pressure, with some facing extinction.

Endangered species: The WWF statement said there were nine types of vultures native to South Asia, adding that eight of these were found in Pakistan. It said there has been a major decline in the populations of two vulture species in Pakistan – the White-backed Vulture and the Long-billed Vulture. The population of these two species has declined by 95% and both are now listed as “critically endangered”, meaning there is no way to prevent the extinction of the species unless serious conservation efforts are undertaken.

The decline in the vulture population has been blamed on the extensive use of the Diclofenac Sodium drug in livestock, according to the statement. It states that Diclofenac Sodium accumulates in the kidneys of vultures when they feed on carcasses and eventually leads to their death. Diclofenac has been banned in veterinary practice, it added.
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