Upon the advice of central government, the Madhya Pradesh government banned the use of the drug diclofenac, which is used by vets, saying that it was responsible for 95 percent of vulture deaths in the country.
"The vultures are indispensable natural scavengers responsible for the disposal of wild and domestic carcasses, thus preventing the outbreak of epidemics. But when they themselves feed on animals which die after consuming diclofenac, they themselves die," said Rajesh Rajoura, commissioner, state veterinary services.
Under such circumstances, it is advisable to use better alternatives like meloxicam and ketoprofen for treating ailing animals, he said. The union environment and forests ministry recommended the ban.
The Asia Conference, held in 2004 February at Kathmandu, too had expressed concern over the decline in the number of vultures. Stressing that diclofenac posed a major danger to the environment in Asia, the conference felt that there should be urgency in banning the drug.
The central government has selected a forest sanctuary at Bhopal under its vulture augmentation scheme, which would be executed by the Van Vihar (forest department), Bhopal.
"Besides, the Ratapani, Singhori and Narsingharh sanctuaries, where 170 vultures have been found, would also be made better places for the birds," he said.