Published Date: 2002-10-18 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH> Vulture die-off - India, Pakistan, Nepal (04)
Archive Number: 20021018.5590
VULTURE DIE-OFF - INDIA, PAKISTAN, NEPAL (04)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2002
From: Peter Daszak <Daszak@aol.com>
Re. Vulture die-off - India, Pakistan, Nepal
As a response to your request for information, I've spoken at length with
one of the foreign scientists working on this issue in India, who is an
associate of the Consortium for Conservation Medicine. I was told to be
careful reading too much into this article [ref 20021010.5514]; it contains
some factual inaccuracies.
It is particularly important to highlight 2 points considering the wide
audience that ProMED articles attract and the sensitive nature of these
Firstly, permission for carcasses to be taken out of India has not been
granted. In fact, work is being conducted in India with the collaboration
of some of this country's leading scientists. Second, funding has not been
delayed; in fact a program of work is currently underway. More details can
be found at
Dr Peter Daszak
Consortium for Conservation Medicine
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Palisades, New York 10964-8000, USA
[For the convenience of our readers, here are some relevant data, derived
from the said URL:
Indian white-backed _Gyps bengalensis_ and long-billed _Gyps indicus_ (see
note) vultures have declined by over 90 percent in India in less than a
decade, as shown by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) surveys, and
this appears to have resulted from an infectious disease.
Since 1 Apr 2001, the Darwin Initiative is funding a 3-year project
investigating causes of the dramatic declines in the vultures in India,
involving 3 Project Partner organisations in the UK and 2 in India.
The Australian Animal Health Laboratory (CSIRO, Australia) are
collaborating over vulture disease investigations although this aspect of
the work is not covered within the Darwin project.
The aims of the Darwin project are:
1.To identify the cause of the declines and potential remedial measures.
2.To establish a captive care facility for sick and potentially healthy
3.To conduct annual nationwide monitoring of vulture numbers and produce a
4.To produce a recovery plan.
Note: Long-billed vulture probably comprises 2 distinct species, Indian
vulture _G. indicus_ and slender-billed vulture _G. tenuirostris_
(Rasmussen et al., OBC Bull. 34; Dec. 2001) but is treated as one species
here as the 2 forms were not differentiated during fieldwork.
ProMED-mail will be grateful for any results obtained within the Darwin
project, CSIRO's investigations or any other relevant surveillance and
diagnostic activities in India, Pakistan or Nepal.- Mod.AS]