Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) has established a temporary research centre for ascertaining the adverse impact of tolfenamic acid, a painkiller for the animals, on the endangered raptors especially on vultures at Nandpur village in Pinjore. The research centre is around 2 km away from the famous Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre. The centre was established with the collaboration of Haryana Forest Department recently.
Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has provided 30 rescued Himalayan Griffon vultures to IVRI with the permission of Haryana for the research purpose. Scientists from IVRI visit the research centre every fortnight for collecting samples of blood, feathers etc of the captive raptors. The centre is spread in one acre area and vultures were kept in two separate aviaries. IVRI is a leading research institute in the field of wild and zoo animal health care along with developing veterinary preventive medicines etc.
The production and use of Diclofenac, a veterinary medicine responsible for declining population of vultures, is already banned in India. In 2016, a notification was issued by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Sources in state forest department said, “IVRI was agreed to work in this direction after accepting the initial findings of various researchers working in the field of vulture conservation. In the initial phase, IVRI decided to make Himalayan Griffon vulture subject of this research. The population of Himalayan griffon vulture is slightly better than other species including Oriental white-backed, Slender-billed and Lone-billed. The research period is of almost two years.”
Dr Vibhu Prakash, principal scientist with BNHS and head of Jatayu Conservation and Breeding Centre said, “Preliminary scientific research conducted by BNHS suggest tolfenamic makes adverse impact on the raptors especially vultures, those feed on the carcasses of animals given tolfenamic. But before making any final conclusion, a detailed research is necessary. Hence, IVRI established a research centre. We provided 30 Himalayan Griffon vultures for the research purpose to IVRI. It is a long process. Haryana Forest Department is also monitoring this research. Researches already established that Diclofenac, another pain killer used for domestic animals, is one of the prime reasons for the declining population of vultures especially of Oriental white-backed, Slender-billed and Lone-billed.”
Conservator of Forest, IFS, RL Rajwanshi said, “The research centre of IVRI is very significant in the conservation of vultures. Section 12 (a)(bb) of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 permits a Chief Wildlife Warden, State, to allow scientific research on the wild animals covered under scheduled 1 for the scientific purpose. It is a temporary research centre, which will shut after finishing of project. Once the research will complete, 30 Himalayan Griffon vultures will release.”