Royal support for Save the Vulture campaign
On Saturday 7 October, a gala dinner was held in Tokyo where Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado of Japan, Honorary President of BirdLife International, launched a campaign to support BirdLife’s initiative to rescue Asia’s ailing vulture populations. Her Imperial Highness spoke of the importance of BirdLife’s quick actions to save vultures in the region.
Vultures were once a common sight throughout South Asia, particularly in India, but three species have suffered declines of up to 97% in recent years because of poisoning by the veterinary drug Diclofenac.
Vultures feeding on cattle carcases treated with Diclofenac become lethargic and eventually die through kidney failure and dehydration.
“Asia’s vultures are in severe crisis and funds are urgently needed to support captive breeding schemes to prevent their extinction,” —Richard Grimmett, Head of BirdLife’s Asia Division
BirdLife partners in India, Nepal, Pakistan and the UK have been involved with others in the identification of Meloxicam as a safe alternative to Diclofenac. The Indian authorities have been quick to react to the crisis, with a national ban on use of Diclofenac as a veterinary medicine and the establishment of captive vulture breeding centres.
“Asia’s vultures are in severe crisis and funds are urgently needed to support captive breeding schemes to prevent their extinction whilst Diclofenac is phased out in favour of Meloxicam,” said Richard Grimmett, Head of BirdLife’s Asia Division.
The Save the Vulture campaign was launched as one of the global activities celebrating the 2006 World Bird Festival, and will run until April 2007. 2007 also marks the 50th Anniversary of the cultural exchange agreement between Japan and India.
Those attending the dinner included His Excellency Mr Hemant Krishan Singh, Indian Ambassador to Japan, and Mr K. Ramadoss, Chief Executive of the Bank of India in Japan. The event was sponsored by the Bank of India and with the support of Taj Enterprise.