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Thursday, August 22

Despite a ban, diclofenac still kills Indian vultures

Diclofenac may be banned on papers to keep the falling population of vultures in India, but it is still killing the scavenger birds, reveals the death of two vultures at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmadabad (IIMA) last week. Wildlife enthusiasts claim that the vultures died of poisoning from the veterinary drug diclofenac.

White rumped Vulture, Gyps bengalensis, diclofenac poisoning, vulture death, Indian vulture deaths
White rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis)
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
According to sources, two dead White rumped Vultures from the IIMA campus were handed over to Jivdaya Charitable Trust, a veterinary trust working to save injured birds and animals, in Ahmadabad on August 16 and 21. The sources with the trust said that both the birds died of visceral gout – a condition caused by diclofenac poisoning.

 According to studies, the veterinary drugs containing diclofenac, used for treatment of cattle, stays with the carcass causing visceral gout in vultures, when they feed on the dead animals. Diclofenac poisoning has drastically brought down the vulture population in India, pushing them to the brink of extinction. White rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis) is included in the critically endangered category by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for their drastic fall in the population.

The incident has brought down the vulture population in Ahmadabad. Latest vulture population data in an around Ahmadabad shows that the city may have anything between 20 to 50 vultures. Majority of them, around 20, were at the IIMA campus. With the present incident, the vulture population at IIMA campus has come down to 18. However, it is estimated that the city outskirts may be sheltering about 200 vultures.

Diclofenac substitute campaigns
According to conservation enthusiasts, the use of diclofenac is still rampant in Ahmadabad and other parts of Gujarat. Despite a campaign to replace diclofenac with an alternative drug Meloxicam, which does not cause poisoning to vultures, the killer drug is still around, says an activist.

A recent study on threat to vulture population in India found that a variant of diclofenac named Aceclofenac is used as a veterinary medicine in India which may still be contributing to the decline of vulture population in India.


  1. That is so sad. Wish the concerned people in this dept takes it up seriously.

    1. Indrani,

      Yes, it is indeed sad.
      Well, if we can urge the medical shop owners and docs not to prescribe or distribute diclofenac or its similar variants, and make sure that it does not happen when we go to get treatment for our pets, that will spread a good message.

      Thank you for the comment.

    2. Diclofenac is still in use in veterinary practice at remote and rural areas where generally veterinary medicines are not available. Without complete eradication of the drug from medical kingdom the vultures cannot be saved. I don't understand why government does not like to complete ban of the drug?May be it in the interest of the national or multinational companies?.....

  2. Though diclofenac is officially banned in veterinary practices,still it is used to treat the animals.At remote places veterinary medicine are kisses available where animals are treated with medical drugs such as diclofenac sodium etc.In field practice animals are not always treated by veterinary doctors;many paravets, laboratory technicians,even grade iv people working in veterinary Office /dispensary are engaged in the matter of treatment who have no any theoretical knowledge.

  3. Hi,

    I had my right kidney damaged from prescription diclofenac, but survived!

    Tougher than an old Buzzer, as they say!

    Its surprising that this drug is still on the market.

    But then again, with those CHEMTRAILS pouring down poison from the skies, it won't be long before the HUMAN population will be reduced.


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