STAFF REPORT KHI: Baanhn Beli and IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, have recently organized a workshop inviting stakeholders to put together a national vulture conservation strategy to arrest the years of decline in the species population across Pakistan.

“The government should declare safe zones for vulture conservations, as well as projects aimed at increasing the number of vultures in the country,” said Aban Marker Kabraji, Regional Director, IUCN Asia, in her address on the occasion.

She cited examples of others countries where decline in species has been a result of numerous factors, but “in the case of vultures, we know its a certain chemical Diclofenac fed to cattle that has resulted in the rapid decline in their (vulture) numbers,” she explained.

“The population of vultures has crashed from millions to a few hundred thousand in South Asia,” she disclosed. “If the Diclofenac is removed from the system the population can increase.

In his remarks, Deputy Inspector General Forests Abdul Munaf Qaimkhani hoped that the National and Regional Recovery Committee would jointly work to save this essential bird that served a major purpose in the ecosystem.

Dr. Scott Perkin, Head, Natural Resource Group, IUCN Asia, said that Pakistan still “has a significant population of vultures and could make significant contribution on the regional and global levels.

He emphasized the development of vulture safe zones and captive breeding since population of vultures gad gone too low. He also strongly recommended the need for strengthening the enforcement of the ban on the Diclofenac

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