Vulture restaurant at Nawalparasi. Photo courtesy: Tulsi Rauniyar
Vulture restaurant at Nawalparasi. Photo courtesy: Tulsi Rauniyar

How Nepal is bringing vultures back from the brink

By establishing vulture restaurants, safe zones and community-based conservation efforts, Nepal has become one of the most successful countries in vulture conservation

Tulsi Rauniyar is a journalist and documentary filmmaker based in Nepal. She can be reached on Twitter at @cupoftulsi

As the population of vultures across Southasia was declining, in 2006, Nepal took an innovative step to bring vultures back from the brink of extinction. It established seven vulture restaurants across the country to provide the birds with safe food. It later established larger Vulture Safe Zones covering areas critical to vultures, such as nesting and roosting sites.

The initiative worked. By 2011, the vulture population had stabilised. But Nepal didn't stop there.

In 2008, the government established a captive breeding programme for vultures. Birds were bred in captivity and released into the wild to boost the population. The programme was so successful that by 2021, the breeding centre was closing down.

Nepal's success in vulture conservation was due in part to its recognition of the role of local communities. By raising awareness of the importance of vultures, Nepal was able to foster community-based conservation efforts that protected vulture populations and their habitats.

Today, in vulture conservation, Nepal has become one of the most successful countries. 

Reporter: Tulsi Rauniyar

Camera: Tulsi Rauniyar

Edit: Pratik Singh

Voice-Over: Swaraj Chitrakar

This project supported in part by a grant from the National Geographic Society

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