Studies on the Haematology and Blood Biochemistry of the Critically Endangered Indian White-Backed Vulture

Bakht Yawar Khan

This project will investigate the blood chemistry of the endangered Indian white backed vulture, and hopes to cast light on recent catastrophic population declines in this species.

The Indian white backed vulture has witnessed a major population decline during the last decade in India and Pakistan.  Various hypotheses have been put forward to explain this catastrophic population crash, but “infectious disease” seems to be the most likely cause.

The main objective of the study will be to investigate the normal limits of haematological and blood biochemistry values of the critically endangered Indian white backed Vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and to compare this data to levels measured in other raptor species. This data will be important, being the first report on haemophysiological parameters of this specific species.  Values obtained in this study will contribute towards a better understanding of raptors in general, will establish a baseline for further studies and will increase the available data on the haematology and clinical chemistry of old world vultures, which will be helpful in future management of this and other critically endangered vulture species.

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