Work on vulture conservation earns Indian conservationist prestigious UK award
Britain’s largest nature conservation charity Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has bestowed the prestigious Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Nature Conservation on Ram Jakati for saving India’s vultures from certain extinction.
In the 1990’s India’s vulture population was pushed to the brink of extinction due to the use of the veterinary drug, diclofenac, given to cattle but lethal to vultures feeding on their carcasses.
Jakati, a 1975-batch IFS officer and former Chief Wildlife Warden for the forest department in Haryana for many years, played a key role in not only getting the drug banned but also establishing a network of sanctuaries, breeding centres and urgent action needed to ensure that vultures did not go extinct before the ban could be implemented.
He subsequently helped to found SAVE (Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction), an international partnership that to this day plays a coordination role in the conservation of South Asia’s vultures.
The Asian vulture conservation programme is today, 20 years on, a world-leading example of effective conservation delivery.
RSPB Chief Executive Beccy Speight said: “The combined climate and nature crisis and the impact of human activity is pushing many once common species to the brink of extinction. I am pleased that we are able to celebrate the vital work of Jakati. His energy and resolve has prevented the extinction of vultures in India.”