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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Provide food for vultures to reduce mortality from diclofenac Bird Conservation

Key messages

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A before-and-after trial in Pakistan found that oriental white-backed vulture Gyps bengalensis mortality rates were significantly lower when supplementary food was provided, compared to when it was not.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A before-and-after trial in 2003-4 (Gilbert et al. 2007) found that daily mortality of oriental white-backed vultures Gyps bengalensis at a colony in Punjab province, Pakistan, was significantly lower during two periods when supplementary food (diclofenac-free donkey carcasses) was provided at a nearby ‘vulture restaurant’, compared to two control periods (0.072 birds/day dying over 111 days when food was provided vs. 0.387 birds/day over 116 days without food). Of the 30 dead vultures examined (eight from supplemented periods), 29 showed signs of diclofenac poisoning. Home range size of three radio-tagged vultures appeared to contract when they discovered the ‘restaurant’ (thus reducing the possibility of contact with diclofenac) but two further tagged vultures did not use the restaurant at all.


Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Bird Conservation. Pages 141-290 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.