"Restaurants" and Vulture Conservation in Nepal

Believe it or not “restaurants” are being set-up for vultures in Nepal. These restaurants are targeted to preserve the wild vultures that have seen a huge decrease in their population owing to inappropriate meal. The vulture population in Nepal is estimated to have fallen to a mere 500 nesting pairs from at least 50,000 pairs in 1990.

In 2004 researchers working in Pakistan discovered that diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug used in livestock, was poisoning and killing vultures (29 July 2006, BBC). Nepal started producing a new cattle drug meloxicam, which is considered a safe alternative for anti-inflammatory diclofenac, and it is intended to halt a big decline in endangered vultures. (August 04 2006, iol). Although the use of diclofenac is prohibited in Nepal and neighbouring India, but the ban is widely ignored.

But now a special feeding centre set up by the conservation group at Kawasoti, about 100 km (60 miles) southwest of the capital, Kathmandu, is trying to ensure vultures get a chance to eat chemical-free cattle carcasses. (Feb 10, 2007, Reuters)

In a recent news report, it is told that more than 100 birds are the regular “customers” in the restaurant.

“The food is attracting birds from distant places. When we started only around 20 vultures of several species used to come to feed on the dead meat but now the number is over 100,” said Dhan Bahadur Chaudhary, the project coordinator.

With around 860 bird species in a landscape that varies from fertile, semi-tropical plains to snowy Himalayan peaks, Nepal is a paradise for bird watchers. (Oct 31, 2007, AFP )

vulturesIt is told that there are plans to emulate India and build a breeding centres. Similar schemes have already been run successfully in South Africa and Europe, but the Nepali project is unique as it is being driven by the local community rather than by professional conservationists. (rawstory )

Looks like people are doing a lot to save the bird. But in a report published in March, 2007 points that the Vulture restaurant has only slowed deaths and more needs to be done to prevent the ultimate extinction of the bird.

A Nepalese villager skins a dead cow to ensure easier vulture dining

Nepalese villagers carry a dead cow towards a vulture feeding site

Interesting links related to vulture:
Vulture Diary
Vulture Restaurant News – India Muslim News
Nepal drug boost for vultures – Birdlife International
Half Of Nepal’s Vulture Species In Danger – Rising Nepal News

4 thoughts on “"Restaurants" and Vulture Conservation in Nepal

  1. When vulture restaurants were implemented in the Canary Islands, they found it significantly increased the predation on ground-nesting birds. I wonder if someone has similarly tested the effect vulture restaurants in Nepal have on the ground-nesting and red listed Swamp Francolin.

  2. Excellent programme. The participation of villegers unbeliavable. I plan to come to Nepal only to see this project at Kawasoti Nawalpasari dist. Who can help me out. No expectation of any finance, Dr, Kelkar Pune India

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