Disappearance of the Indian vulture

The Indian vulture (Gyps indicus), the white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensisis), and the long-billed vulture (Gyps tenuirostris) are by now all but extinct. In the last thirty years all three species have suffered a substantial population decrease of over 95%. White-backed vultures, which numbered in the tens of millions in the 1980s, have been reduced to just slightly more than ten thousand. The cause of this fast-paced extinction process has been identified in diclofenac, a veterinary drug the vultures ingest when eating the carcasses of treated livestock. The disappearance of the vultures also has cultural consequences, as their scarcity forces Zoroastrian religious groups to modify traditional burial practices.

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