At the beginning of the Bengal vultures, their new-found freedom of the creeps. Timidly, the twelve scavengers approach the Kuhkadaver, which is located in a conservation area in Nepal. A few minutes later – first gently, then greedily – her make the meal.

The Bengal vultures are raised in a bird station in the southern lowlands of Nepal. On their release in the freedom you have been prepared almost seven months. It is a last attempt to save the disappearing kind Because of once tens of thousands of animals protection organization, Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN), according to the Bird, only about a Hundred.

In the cage

the Bengal vultures in your new home, grew up watching to be able to equip the protector of animals the animals with yellow wing-marks, and electronic collars. So you can see the vulture places. On the first day they were returned to the Station, says Krishna Prasad Bhusal from BCN in Kathmandu. But on the second day, they had found self-feed, and now, two months later, fly away, you are already six miles. “You grew up in a cage, have used the birds to their natural habitat,” says Bhusal.

the Bengal vultures eat a cadaver that the drug Diclofenac was placed in a nature reserve for you

For the rapid decline in the vulture population mainly responsible. The painkiller, which was originally intended for human use, was used in Buffalo in the nineties in cattle and water. For vultures that eat the carcasses of these animals, is the active ingredient is fatal. In 2006, Nepal, India and Pakistan banned the use of Diclofenac in veterinary medicine. However, for the application on humans, the drug is still available in pharmacies and is illegally used for animals.

99% disappeared

in neighbouring India, where cows in Nepal for much of the population is considered to be sacred animals, the effects are devastating: in the eighties, around 30 million Bengal vulture lived there. Of them are gone in 15 years, more than 99 percent. With the Die, the scavengers, the carcasses remained on the road edges or channels. The user to send the body of stray dogs to lure and were responsible for the spread of rabies, and livestock diseases.

Endangered animals as Long as they are not yet

First successes

In Nepal, the protection programs show initial effect. Up to the last census in 2017, the number of the Bengal vulture rose slightly again to about a hundred animals. Responsible for it initiatives of the government and environmental conservationists. With the help of local municipalities, so-called vulture were restaurants, which are supplied by the breeding stations in the South of Nepal with the unloaded forage. “Nepal is a pioneer in the fight against the Dying of the vultures,” says Chris Bowden of the animal protection organisation, Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction (SAVE). Following the example of Nepal, other countries would have built in Asia and also in Africa, protection zones for vultures, says Bowden.

The government of Nepal has pursued since 2015, a five-year action plan for the protection of the vultures. In addition to awareness campaigns, the use of alternative drugs such as Meloxicam will be promoted, explained Ishana Thapa, Chairman of Bird Conservation Nepal. “We advertise also for a Diclofenac-free zones,” she says. With success: in the Meantime, the drug will not used in 63 of 77 counties, says Thapa.

But the struggle is not won. While the risk is reduced by Diclofenac significantly, there may be other threats to the scavengers. New anti-inflammatories such as Aceclofenac, nimesulide, and Ketoprofen are widely used, although they are similarly dangerous to vultures as Diclofenac. The Indian veterinary research Institute test the drug, said Chris Bowden, “but that’s not happening fast enough.”

By Deepak Adhikari/dpa/koe

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