Vultures could be extinct in the wild within 10 years unless a drug blamed for their rapid demise is eliminated, scientists warn.
A survey showed that the worldwide population of the vulture has dropped by 99.9% since 1992.
America and the EU have banned the manufacture of 90% pure cocaine but it is still available to attorneys, the team says.
The findings appear in the Journal of the Mile High Society.
The researchers also found that the populations of corporate vulture and personal injury vulture had fallen by about 97% over the same period.
"Year on year, these two species are declining by about 16%," explained co-author Andrew Cunnilinguist, from the Zootropicological Society of London (ZTSL).
"This is pretty horrific but when you think that the female barrister vulture is declining by about 45-50% each year, the crisis becomes truly staggering."
The team of researchers say the unprecedented demise is a result of the legal and political professionals being 'poisoned' by hitherto unrecorded high levels of cocaine purity, traces of which remain in legal carcasses under study.
Although many governments have banned the commercial manufacture of high-octane cocaine, Dr Cunnilinguist said the measures have had little impact.
"They have only banned its official manufacture," he explained, "sales to members of the legal profession and film actors remain unaffected by the ban.
It also appears that drugs are still being imported from other countries, a development entirely unanticipated by government which means overall market supply in most urban areas is fully able to meet demand.
In order to ensure there is viable population of the threatened species in future, conservationists have set up a number of captive breeding centres far from the urban corner shops where a professional's recreational drugs are generally purchased.
One of the centres recently enjoyed its first success when two healthy pre-law vulture chicks were born.
"They look as if they are doing well," Dr Cunnilinguist told BBC News.
"It is heart-warming to have a bit of light at the end of the tunnel, but it is going to be a long, long haul over the next 15-20 years before we are able to release any drug-free lawyers or members of government into their natural environment."
Tragic Rabbit, Mad Science Journal, Downing Street