Monday, 01 November 2010 12:53
As the vultures of Nepal are still declining, awareness of the problem and conservation efforts are increasing. The community of Pokhara, with financial help from Parahawking flights, Himalayan Raptor Rescue, other donations and funding from local and international organizations, has created a vulture safe zone and vulture restaurant just outside of the city in the Annapurna Conservation Area.
A few of us from Himalayan Raptor Rescue had a chance to go see the site, and see the progress they have made with ours and other generous donations and grants. Progress was evident as soon as we got down into the river valley and we saw the many white-backed, Himalayan and red-headed vultures roosting in the trees and flying over-head. One of the cows had died that morning, so the vultures in the area were all happily well-fed.
There has been progress on construction of the site as well. The cow-shed is up next to the grazing area, and a nice observation building is sitting on a hill and filled with information on the vulture species found here. The observation building has a view of the vulture feeding area, the river, and the Annapurna mountain range. It’s a beautiful view, and a positive view for the future of Nepal’s vulture population.
There are still some challenges to overcome and improvements to be made: they currently do not have a cart to transport the carcasses to the vulture feeding area; there are not enough large trees for vulture roosts; they don’t have a way to get drinking water to the cows, and they would like to have viewing telescopes at the observation building. Himalayan Raptor Rescue will continue working with the Pokhara community’s vulture restaurant to help solve these issues.
With the continuation of vulture restaurants and the increasing of education efforts, the vultures of Pokhara valley and all of Nepal will be ensured a future.
Saturday, 07 November 2009 18:42
What is a Vulture Safe Zone (VSZ)?
The concept of a VSZ is unique for the Asian continent but similar VSZ are in operation in both Europe and Africa. The main aim of this project is to provide safe food for critically endangered vultures managed by the local communities.
For the followers of the Hindu religion, cows are sacred animals, killing a cow is punishable by law in Nepal. Thus, when cattle become old and unproductive, they are often a burden to farmers. At the Cow Rescue Centre
, cows are collected collected and cared for until they die a natural death. Dead cattle are placed at a designated place for vultures to feed. A viewing house (hide) is strategically placed to observe the vultures while they feed without disturbing them. Visitors enjoy seeing the incredible sight of vultures feeding as well as seeing more varieties of vultures and other birds of prey in the vicinity. The Visitors Centre
provides information to visitors on diverse aspects of these majestic creatures and the conservation efforts carried out to safeguard them. In addition to this, the centre will feature information on other birds, mammals and the natural history of the area. Any income generated will be used to manage the VSZ
, Visitors Centre
and activities that support the livelihood of the local communities.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 01:40
3 Species of Asia's Vultures are on the brink of extiction.
The White Backed Vulture, The Slender Billed Vulture and the Long Billed Vulture have declined by a staggering 99.9% in the last 15 years. This is all down to a drug called "Diclofenac", an anti inflamatory drug which is administrered to sick and dying livestock across Asia. Diclofenac is lethal to the Vultures, If the animal dies with Diclofenac in it's system, vultures that feed from the animal carcass die from liver and kideny failure. It is killing them in their millions.
The potential loss of these species has profound ecological and social consequences in Asia. Vultures play a vital role by rapidly disposing of dead matter that would otherwise pose a risk of disease. Their decline has also seen a dramatic increase in feral dog numbers, which pose a real risk to human health and safety.Vulture Safe Zones (VSZ)
Vulture Safe Zones are the best and most effective way to halt the decline of the vultures. Through a program of education, the use of Diclofenac is discouraged, whilst promoting the use of the vulture safe alternative Meloxicam. Once an area is deemed to be Diclofenac free, an area is set up to provide safe food for vultures, these are called Vulture Safe Zones. Sick, old or dying cattle is purchased from local farmers, the animals are cared for until they die a natural death. The carcass is then put out for the wild vultures, this attracts vultures from far and wide to feed from safe Diclofenac free food. The vultures will then start breeding colonies in and around the safe zone.
Nepal has two Vulture Safe Zones sites in the Terrai region, both have reported increased numbers of breeding pairs in and around the safe zones over the past two years. Pokhara has a high concentration of vultures compared to other parts of the country, our aim is therefore to develop a Vulture Safe Zone in the Pokhara valley.We need your help!
We need to raise money to develop a Vulture Safge Zone site in Nepal's Pokhara Valley to prevent further declines.
Please dig deep and donate as much as you can. Every penny raised will go directly towards the development of a Vulture Safe Zone in the Pokhara Valley.
Friday, 26 June 2009 11:41
Things are looking grim for the Vultures of Asia.
The following information is taken from the Vulture Rescue website - www.vulturerescue.org
Tens of millions of vultures used to be present across India, Pakistan and Nepal. Since the early 1990s three vulture species have undergone catastrophic declines. Populations have decreased by at least 97% in India over the last 12 years and 92% in five years in Pakistan. Vulture numbers continue to decline at around 40% a year, placing these three critically endangered species on the brink of extinction
Friday, 26 June 2009 11:39
- We witness the most amazing Vulture feeding scene ever.
On an early February morning on the outskirts of Pokhara Nepal, our team of Parahawkers, a film crew and an RSPB research biologist were witness to one of the best Raptor encounters of our lives...
Take a look at the most amazing vulture pictures
. Warning! not for the faint hearted.