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Vet wings it over to India to do his bit for Asia’s vultures
3:00pm Tuesday 30th October 2012 in News
A VET from Knutsford travelled more than 5,000 miles to do his bit to help save Asia’s vultures from extinction.
Richard Jones, who works at Avian Veterinary Services at Gauntlet Birds of Prey Centre on Manchester Road, spent a week helping staff at breeding centres in India and Nepal.
“In 1990 there were about 40 million vultures in India and Nepal, today there are less than 10,000,” he said.
Research has found that an anti-inflammatory drug, used to treat livestock across Asia, is to blame.
The drug Diclofenac is highly toxic to vultures and leads to acute kidney failure.
“If a vulture feeds on an animal, which has died within a few days of being treated with this drug, then there is a very high chance it will die and as they feed in flocks, a single carcass can kill many birds,” said Richard.
The trip to Asia was organised by Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction (SAVE) a consortium involving a number of international organisations and individuals.
So far the group has managed to persuade the governments of India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh to ban Diclofenac.
The organisation has also set up a number of conservation breeding centres where all three species of vulture are being bred for the first time in captivity.
“These vultures can be re-introduced to the wild once Diclofenac has been eradicated from the food chain,” said Richard.
SAVE has also helped to identify a replacement drug for Diclofenac, Meloxicam, which is now being manufactured by an increasing number of companies in the region.
Richard accompanied Chris Bowden of the RSPB and Jemima Parry-Jones and Simon Brough from the International Centre for Birds of Prey on this particular trip to Pinjore, India and Chitwan, Nepal.
“It really was inspirational to see the fantastic work carried out by such dedicated staff at the centres we visited,” said Richard.
“I just hope we can be of continued support to the centres’ vets because just to be involved in such an important project is a real honour.”
l If you want to supporting SAVE, or to find out more, email Chris Bowden (SAVE Program Manager) at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 01767 680551.