Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nepal's Vulture Restaurants Revives Population

When standing out on the Piedras Blancas bluffs near San Simeon, Ca., and answering questions about the northern elephant seal, a common question is "What do you do with the dead seals?" 

I answer, "The clean-up committee handles that: gulls and vultures." The turkey vultures here seem to be in good shape.  But not so much for the vultures in Nepal that have feasted on cattle carcasses that have traces of the drug diclofenac--a compound that causes kidney failure and death in vultures. The White-rumped and Slender-billed -- are now critically endangered in Nepal, as well as in Pakistan and India.

According to an article in Planet Ark , five years ago Bird Conservation Nepal "came up with the idea of 'restaurants' as places where the birds could feed on safe carcasses...and now...the number of nesting pairs there has grown to 46 compared with just 17 before the feeding site was opened five years ago.."

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