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Slender-Billed Vulture

Slender-Billed Vulture Vultures have been hard-pressed all over the planet, shot as pests, poisoned by lead bullets and veterinary drugs, and suffering from habitat loss. In India, the slender-billed vulture once lived across the subcontinent, but its numbers have dwindled 97% in little more than a decade due to poisoning by Diclofenac, a veterinary medicine used on cattle that causes fatal kidney failure in birds feeding on tainted carcasses. Only a thousand remain in the wild, and extinction is expected within a decade. India has now banned Diclofenac, urging farmers to replace that drug with one safe for vultures, Meloxicam. A coalition of NGOS, including the Bombay Natural History Society and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, has begun capturing wild slender-billed vultures to prevent their deaths in the wild, launching a captive-breeding program to build up its numbers. The groups hope to release the birds back into the wild once Diclofenac has disappeared from their habitat. Over 20 birds have been captured, and last year, two of the rare birds were successfully hatched and fledged. Another sign of hope for the species appeared in Cambodia in 2007, when a breeding colony of around 100 was found near the border with Laos.
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