Out of nine species of vultures, population of three species ( White-backed Vulture Gyps bengalensis, Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris and Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus) have declined by 99%. Vultures keep the environment clean, by scavenging on animal carcasses.

The decline in vulture populations has associated disease risks including increased risk of spread of rabies and anthrax, besides adversely impacting the observance of last rites by the Parsis in the tower of silence.

  • Varying vultures have different conservation statuses. The three species (White-backed Vulture Gyps bengalensis, Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris and Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus) are now classified as critically endangered.

Slender-billed Vulture

Habitat: Forests, habitation, villages etc.

Distribution: Across India.

Threats: A major threat to vultures is the use of the painkiller diclofenac for veterinary purposes.
On consumption of carcasses, diclofenac gets into the system of vultures which they are unable
to metabolize. Accumulation of diclofenac results in gout-like symptoms such as neck-drooping
ultimately leading to death.