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A veterinary drug is now thought to be causing the catastrophic decline in vulture populations throughout India, Pakistan and Nepal.

An international consortium of scientists used computer models of vulture demography to confirm that the birds could be ingesting lethal doses of diclofenac — an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat livestock — when they feed on animal carcasses.

Up to 99 per cent of populations of some species of Gyps vultures — once the world's most common large bird of prey — have died out in India since 1992.

Link to full news story in Science

Reference: Science 306, 223 (2004)

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