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Community-based conservation of Critically Endangered vulture species in western Nepal

Vulture Conservation Project

In South Asia, including Nepal, the White-rumped Vulture, Slender-billed Vulture, and Red-headed Vulture are classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, undergoing a significant population decline since the 1990s primarily associated with the use of diclofenac in cattle treatment. Despite ongoing conservation efforts, challenges in vulture conservation persist in Nepal. The use of alternative toxic drugs (Ketoprofen and Nimesulide), declining cattle rearing, the burial of animal carcasses, and incidents of vulture poisoning are emerging threats that continue to affect the recovering vulture population in Nepal. The Conservation Leadership Program (CLP)-funded project aims to address these challenges through collaborative initiatives, with a focus on reducing the use of toxic drugs, preventing animal poisonings, and ensuring the provision of safe food for vultures in the East Nawalparasi, Tanahun, Palpa, Kapilvastu, and Dang districts. The project also aims to establish and maintain safe vulture habitats through community stewardship, focusing on outcomes such as the banning of vulture-toxic NSAIDs, enhanced monitoring capabilities of NSAIDs for local farmers, elimination of poisoned animal carcasses through awareness, and capacity building for farmers and youths in ensuring safe food for vultures. Additionally, the project will work towards developing conservation plans with Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs), enhancing fundraising capacities, and integrating vulture conservation activities into the plans of local governments, CFUGs, and youth groups in the project site. Through these efforts, the project aspires to safeguard the reviving vulture population in Nepal, promoting sustainable coexistence between these endangered yet important species and the communities in the targeted districts of Nepal.