"Nepal's Vulture 'Restaurants' For Endangered Birds"

"In the village of Pithauli, surrounded by ripening mustard fields, a woman hauls a cow carcass on a trolley, drops it in an open field, then runs and hides in a nearby hut as dozens of vultures swoop down."

"In under half an hour, the carcass has been reduced to picked bones by the dun-colored birds, occasionally squabbling as they feed.

The site is one of a handful of vulture 'restaurants' opened to save the birds, which help keep the environment clean by disposing of carrion, from extinction -- and at the same time help impoverished villages become self-sufficient.

A drug called diclofenac, used for treating inflammation in cattle, causes kidney failure and death in vultures which feed on their carcasses. As a result, two species of vulture -- the White-rumped and Slender-billed -- are now critically endangered in Nepal, as well as in Pakistan and India."

Gopal Sharma reports for Reuters February 8, 2012.

Source: Reuters, 02/08/2012