Urgent actions are required for the conservation of Old World vultures

The collapse of vulture populations in South Asia 25 years ago, caused principally or entirely by veterinary use of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac is now well known. Some vulture populations in Europe have stabilized or increased thanks to conservation action, but anthropogenic threats persist. Vulture populations in other parts of the world, especially Africa, are now also endangered for other reasons. Vulture conservation is a major challenge. However, outstanding work has been and continues to be done to conserve these birds, with initiatives to address almost all of the threats and to restore populations. These include integrated anti-poisoning campaigns in Africa and Europe, combining some or all of rapid response, law enforcement and mitigating human-wildlife conflict, while linking the plight of vultures to that of carnivores and elephants to form stronger conservation coalitions; reintroduction or restocking with captive-bred vultures, linked to reduction of the threat from veterinary NSAIDs, in South Asia, or reintroduction projects in Europe; and ever-increasing collaboration with the energy sector to reduce the threats of electrocution and collision.Following these events, the global conservation community is taking action, and in this article, we draw attention to the most recent and significant developments in vulture conservation, including the adoption by Governments across the range of African-Eurasian vultures of a Multispecies Action Plan for their conservation. We show that vulture conservation can work and urge for the implementation of the Action Plan in all its components to make this happen for all species across their ranges.

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Safford, R., Andevski, J., Botha, A., Bowden C.G,R. Crockford, N., Garbett, R., Margalida, A., Ramírez, I., Shobrak, M., Tavares, J. & Williams, N.P. 2019. Vulture conservation: the case for urgent action. Bird Conservation International 29: 1-9.