I’m grateful to the Vulture Conservation Foundation for an update on situation with diclofenac (a medical drug that is a bit like aspirin for you but more like cyanide for vultures feeding on animal carcasses which contain it).
A review of the evidence for the impact of diclofenac on European vultures has been produced by the European Medicines Agency (see here). It concludes that if diclofenac is used as a veterinary medicine in Spain it would be every bit as damaging to vulture populations as it has been in India, Nepal and Pakistan. No surprises there, but good to see the evidence assessed again.
The impact of veterinary use of diclofenac in Spain would probably be equivalent to that in Asia – a 99% decline in vulture populations inside a decade or so. Surely ‘we’ cannot be about to make the same mistake again – but this time with our eyes wide open and the evidence clearly laid out before us?
Also, and very worryingly, a paper has recently been published which shows that a vulture in Spain has been killed by eating flunixin – another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. This is the first confirmed death of a vulture from NSAID-poisoning outside Asia.
It’s crazy, crazy, crazy!