Asia

White-rumped vulture conservation

Photo: © Reza

Project title: White-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) conservation in Bangladesh: Establishment of toxic drug free Vulture Safe Zones (VSZ) and monitoring of the population trend

Location: Greater Sylhet (northeast), Greater Khulna (southwest) and Greater Mymensingh (north) areas,  Bangladesh

Duration: 2014 – 2016

Project background: The Oriental white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and slender-billed vulture (G. tenuirostris) are vulture species that can be found in Bangladesh. Both species are Critically Endangered and facing high risk of extinction due to rapid population decline. The white-rumped vulture was once widely distributed in Bangladesh but now considered rare and thinly distributed with a population of less than 1,000 individuals.  In the last decade, it has been scientifically proven 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 in the Indian Subcontinent.

In October 2010, the Government of Bangladesh banned the production, distribution and sale of diclofenac in veterinary use. However, the drug is still being used at a substantial level, due to its illegal availability (from human consumption stock) and lack of awareness on its harmful effects.

Aiming to protect the globally endangered white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) from its imminent extinction, IUCN Bangladesh, in close collaboration with Bangladesh Forest Department, has initiated the 'White-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) conservation in Bangladesh: Establishment of toxic drug free Vulture Safe Zones (VSZ) and monitoring of the population trend' project.  

Creating awareness in future leaders about the importance of vultures

Objectives of the project: The main objective of the project is to establish a sustainable vulture population in the country by establishing VSZs across Bangladesh. These VSZs will be free from diclofenac and other untested veterinary drugs, and will have adequate number of trees suitable for vultures to nest in. These zones will be managed by local communities under the guidance of local forest department officials. A long term monitoring plan and guideline will be developed to monitor vulture population, breeding and the use of veterinary drugs (mainly diclofenac and meloxicam) throughout the VSZ in order to know the population trend.

Expected Outputs:

  • VSZs identified, mapped and gazetted in the project areas
  • An institutional mechanism established for conservation and management of vulture safe zone
  • Reduction of usage in diclofenac and other untested veterinary drugs from veterinary usages in the VSZ

Donor: The World Bank

Partner: Bangladesh Forest Department 

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