We all know that vultures eat rotting carcasses, but we at Animal News get to chow down on Video Lunch!
According to Himilayan Raptor Rescue, Asian vultures are going extinct. As is often the case, humans are to blame. This time, however, people are killing the vultures with kindness. That is, kindness for other animals.
Sick and dying livestock are given a drug called “Diclofenac” that acts as an anti-inflammatory and painkiller. It is very effective at easing the pain of ailing farm animals. Unfortunately, it is also quite toxic to vultures. Raptor Rescue claims that vulture populations “have declined by a staggering 99.9% in the last 15 years,” primarily due to this drug.
Vultures are not pretty. In fact, most people find them downright revolting. But they are an essential part of the ecosystem. Without them, rotting carcasses would pile up, creating a serious disease threat and also feeding a growing population of feral dogs.
So what can you do to help protect the Asian vultures? You could donate to Himalayan Raptor Rescue. But if you were feeling more adventurous, you could go parahawking.
Parahawking is the act of paragliding with birds of prey. Raptors are experts at using thermal vents for lift, so they can be used to guide paragliders into the right air streams. And the best part is that the Parahawking company donates a portion of their profits to vulture conservation. Actually, the best part is probably that the hawks will land on your hand while you are paragliding. But conservation is a close second.