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Population trends in Himalayan Griffon in Upper Mustang, Nepal, before and after the ban on diclofenac


The Upper Mustang region of Nepal holds important breeding populations of Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis. Despite this species being considered ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List, the population in Upper Mustang had declined substantially in the early to mid-2000s. During that period, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac was commonly used to treat illness and injury in domesticated ungulates throughout Nepal. The timing and magnitude of declines in Himalayan Griffon in Upper Mustang resemble the declines in resident populations of the ‘Critically Endangered’ White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis and Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris in Nepal, both of which are also known to be highly sensitive to diclofenac. Since 2006, the veterinary use of diclofenac has been banned in Nepal to prevent further vulture declines. In this paper, we analyse the population trend in Himalayan Griffon in Upper Mustang between 2002 and 2014 and show a partial recovery. We conclude that the decline is now occurring at a slower rate than previously observed and immigration from areas where diclofenac was either not or rarely used the probable explanation for the recovery observed.

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Bird Conservation International
  • ISSN: 0959-2709
  • EISSN: 1474-0001
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