THE DICLOFENAC VULTURE ARMAGEDDON IS NOW ON SPAIN'S DOORSTEP and we should take time to appreciate its vultures as many of them may not be around for much longer. BirdLife International lists Eurasian Griffon Vulture as being of least concern, however, this could change very quickly if we see the same ultra rapid decline in vulture populations that there was in India from the late 1990s onwards. Egyptian Vulture is already listed as endangered, Cinereous Vulture near threatened and both feed on cattle carcases, as do griffons, and the future looks pretty bleak for them all if Spain's farmers start using diclofenac. I cannot imagine what possessed the morons who licensed this terrible drug for sale in the EU, maybe just plain ignorance perhaps? ...or something more sinister? It is such a depressing state of affairs. Money talks these days and it seems the wishes of conservationists count for nothing. So what can we do? We can at least enjoy watching the wonderful wildlife that is still around us while we can as the shadows of heartless and greedy developers and industrialists draw closer. This thought crossed my mind as I watched over 50 vultures at a feeding station in the Val D'Aran the other day.
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EGYPTIAN VULTURES ARE SADLY ON THE WAY OUT. Currently listed as 'endangered' by BirdLife International owing to a rapidly declining population they are definitely birds to watch while we still can. We were lucky to be able to visit the state-of-the-art raptor flight photo hide at Lleras near Tremp again this year and as well as some very close birds there were lots of opportunities to shoot these attractive little vultures in the air as well as on the ground. I remember the skies around the Taj Mahal being filled by them 20 years ago and now you are lucky to see one or two there. The decline has also been seen across Africa and although there are some pockets where their numbers are stable (presumably where they are not blighted by the veterinary drug diclofenac), like Oman and Socotra, the prospects for their long term survival look very bleak. Unbelievably the same horrible drug has recently been authorised for use in Spain, which will probably mean the end for this and most other vultures there. Judging from their actions most present governments absolutely do not care about wildlife. I wonder when the backlash from those that do will come?