After plummeting from over a million to as few as 20,000 over the last couple of decades, vulture numbers in Nepal are now rebounding.
Vultures feed on carrion — the bodies of dead animals — and in Nepal, the widespread use of a livestock medication called Diclofenac that’s toxic to the birds meant that their preferred food sources, the carcasses of dead cattle, were typically laced with poison.
The drug in Nepal has been banned, but this alone is only part of the solution.
Activists in Nepal are supporting the rebounding vulture population by setting up feeding stations for the giant birds that are well-stocked with drug-free cattle carcasses.
These “vulture restaurants” are stocked by cattle that are purchased from local villagers and allowed to die a natural death (Hinduism prohibits the killing of cattle).
A half dozen of these “restaurants” already exist in the country, and have garnered acceptance from local people and interest from ecotourists.
Of the 23 vulture species found around the world, nine of them are in Nepal, and these are the most endangered.
Sources: Mongabay, MyRepública Nagarik (Nepal)