The Oriental white-backed vulture chick hatched last week at the breeding centre in northern India and belongs to one of three Asian vulture species facing a grave threat of extinction. Asian vultures have declined by between 97 and 99 per cent and scientists did not expect the birds to breed in captivity until at least 2008.
Dr Vibhu Prakash, Principle Scientist for the vulture breeding programme said: “ This is the most precious new year gift from nature to vulture conservation. The egg was laid in November and since then, we have been waiting and hoping. This success shows that we have got the conditions right, so now we can plan ahead with confidence to breed many more vultures in the future.”
Vultures are nature’s most efficient scavengers but many millions of Oriental white-backed, slender-billed and long-billed vultures have died in south Asia in the last 12 years, after feeding on the carcasses of livestock treated with the drug diclofenac shortly before death.
The veterinary use of diclofenac is now being phased out in India, Pakistan and Nepal. In January 2006, scientists from the RSPB, ZSL and elsewhere proved that the drug meloxicam was a suitable, and safe, alternative.
The breeding centre where the chick has hatched, in Pinjore, Haryana, is one of two set up to house wild birds caught to protect them from remnant uses of diclofenac. The other centre is at the Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal.
Conservationists believe it will be at least ten years before diclofenac is no longer a threat. Vulture numbers are now so low that the he birds’ survival is largely dependent on captive breeding success.
Chris Bowden, Head of the RSPB’s Vulture Conservation Programme said: “The hatching of this vulture chick is a hugely important milestone and shows that the vulture breeding programme really can help save the vultures once diclofenac is removed from the environment.
“Most of the 130 vultures at the breeding centres were collected as nestlings, so are far too young to breed. So this early sign of success gives us confidence that the conservation breeding programme is on track.”
Dr Asad Rahmani, Director of the Bombay Natural History Society said: “The ban on the killer drug diclofenac must be implemented urgently and effectively to make sure these vultures have a future. The increasing availability of meloxicam means that farmers and vets can switch to the new drug. But this must happen immediately, if we are to avoid losing the last remaining wild vultures.”
Cath Harris | alfa
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy