KASUR,Feb. 2,2014 (Ihsan Qadir / UPI Next) — With several species of vultures on the verge of extinction in Pakistan, largely because of veterinary drugs used on cattle, an environmental group is investing in a captive breeding program it hopes will contribute to the recovery of the iconic birds.
Deep in the Changa Manga forest, 45 miles from Lahore, World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan is working with the Punjab Wildlife Department to restore the population of the Oriental white-backed vulture, also known as the white-rumped vulture. The scavengers have long been a crucial part of the ecosystem in Pakistan and across South Asia, helping to prevent disease and contamination of groundwater by feeding on animal carcasses.
“We are fighting a losing battle but we can minimize the impact,” Hasan Ali, a WWF-Pakistan conservation coordinator, said, speaking through a translator.