Landmark vulture release in Nepal
History was made in November 2017 when six captive-reared, Critically Endangered white-rumped vultures were released into the wild in Nepal. This was the first-ever vulture release in South Asia, marking the beginning of the next phase of vulture conservation in Nepal.
For years, Bird Conservation Nepal and the RSPB have been working as part of the Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction (SAVE) project to ensure the region is free of the veterinary painkiller diclofenac, and in so doing, create the world’s first Vulture Safe Zone. If livestock treated with diclofenac die shortly after treatment, their carcasses are lethal to vultures that feed on them. SAVE brought about a ban on veterinary diclofenac in 2006 and since then the decline of the vulture population has slowed and the species may be beginning to recover.
In the next phase of the project, we will be fitting satellite transmitters to wild and captive-bred vultures and monitoring their survival to help us evaluate the success of the Vulture Safe Zone and captive breeding programme.