Conservationists have warned vultures may become extinct in our lifetime unless something is done about a lethal drug which is poisoning them.
Two charities, BirdLife International and the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) have launched a global campaign called Stop Vulture Poisoning Now, after 99% of the animals in India, Pakistan and Nepal were found to have been killed by the drug Diclofenac - a veterinary drug used to treat inflammation in livestock that is lethally toxic to vultures.
It was banned in the Indian subcontinent in 2006 after the decline in the vulture population left the landscape littered with their decaying bodies. This decline was faster than any other wild bird, including the Dodo, which is famous for its human-induced rapid extinction.
Conservationists are now concerned that the same thing could happen across Europe and Africa after the drug became available in Spain and Italy, both countries being strongholds for vultures.
In Africa, there is not only the threat of Diclofenac but the birds are also being hunted for their body parts to be used in medicines, along with losing their habitat and other cases of deliberate and accidental poisoning.