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    Supporting wildlife: Two chicks of dying vulture breed born

    LAHORE (AwesomePakistan.Net): For the second time in two consecutive years, two chicks of the critically endangered oriental white-backed vultures have been born at the WWF-Pakistan’s Changa Manga vulture conservation facility.

    The chicks, now over six weeks old, are growing and developing after surviving the critical period of the initial four weeks post-hatching. The addition of these chicks to the existing flock will contribute in achieving a viable population and will give this species a fighting chance to move out of the endangered species list.

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    “Last year, our teams experienced success for the first time ever since the breeding programme was launched back in 2005,” WWF-Pakistan Director General Hammad Naqi Khan said while congratulating the team involved in the project. “This led us to double our efforts this year and successfully breed two chicks, indicating the high standards of husbandry and care protocols in place for these birds at the Gyps Vulture Centre in Changa Manga.”

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    WWF-Pakistan launched the vulture captive breeding programme in at forest reserve to enhance the understanding of the vulture lifecycle. Land for the centre was provided by the Punjab Wildlife and Parks Department with a seed grant from the environment agency of Abu Dhabi.

    Hawk Conservancy Trust (HCT) supported the construction of aviaries and has regularly extended financial and technical support to the conservation work. The facility currently houses 19 white-backed vultures, 15 adults, two juveniles and two chicks.

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    The population of the vulture, gyps bengalensis, has been on a decline and more than 90% of its historic geographic range in Pakistan, India and Nepal has been lost since the early 1990s. This drastic fall is attributed to the use of diclofenac sodium, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug in livestock.

    In 2006, WWF-Pakistan successfully lobbied to ban the toxin in Pakistan.

    Published in The Express Tribune


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