Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Imagine a world without vultures

Constance Casey at Slate theorizes a world without vultures in "Vulture World". A mysterious die-off of Asian white-backed vultures has led to a pileup of domestic animal carcasses and an increase in the population of rodents and feral dogs. It turned out that an anti-inflammatory drug—diclofenac—used on sick livestock kills vultures even in low doses. Though the Indian government is phasing out the veterinary use of the drug, the vulture population hasn't rebounded. One social consequence has been that members of the Zoroastrian Parsi community, who have used vultures to dispose of human corpses, now have to cremate their dead. These are fascinating birds. Read more.

2 comments:

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

Hi Julie
I as a bit surprised by this too when I first heard about it - was thinking they are probably treating the sacred cows with Voltaren , but I also realised the elderly human remains might be the main source..
either way - do read this - I added a comment on it last year.
http://deathstudy.blogspot.com/2008/09/towers-of-silence.html

Dennis the Vizsla said...

I remember reading an article about this very thing years ago. Sounds like the situation isn't improving much.