Twenty years ago there were tens of millions of vultures in the Indian subcontinent. They provided a valuable ecosystem service by disposing of millions of tonnes of waste carrion from dead cattle each year. Now they, and the services they provided, are nearly all gone.
The SAVE Blueprint aims to address threats of three species of Gyps vultures that are endemic to South and Southeast Asia: oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis), long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus) and slender-billed vulture (Gyps tenuirostris), which are the worst affected and are threatened with global extinction after rapid population declines, which began in the mid-1990s. They are listed by IUCN as Critically Endangered, the highest level of endangerment short of extinction in the wild. The oriental white-backed vulture population in India in 2007 was estimated at one-thousandth of its level in the early 1990s. Veterinary use of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac is the major cause of these declines.
The SAVE Blueprint is a key component (Annex 6) of the Multi-species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP