How A Fist Full Of Meat Can Make Paragliding Even More Fun

By Dustin Walker on 16/Mar/2014

Vultures have always had a bit of an image problem.

After all, these carrion-munchers certainly aren’t as cute as polar bears or seal cubs. And after watching a group of vultures go to town on a cow carcass, you may see your steak dinner in a whole new light (we’ll get to that part later).

But one unique travel company is helping to give these creatures a much-needed PR makeover. The Parahawking Project lets people go paragliding alongside trained hawks and vultures in Nepal. It’s an incredible experience that is raising awareness about a global effort to prevent the extinction of vultures in the region. The population of some Asian vulture species have declined by up to 99% over the past 15 years.

The pics below give you an idea of what parahawking is like, but wait until you watch the video from the vulture’s point of view. It’s pretty crazy.

And what better way to end a day of flying then by visiting a Vulture Restaurant (yes, that’s a thing). You won’t believe what’s leftover after these guys devour a full cow carcass.

The birds are fed meat as a reward for guiding the paragliders to the thermals. They gently land on the pilot or passenger’s hand, grab the grub and then take off again.

When you go parahawking, birds are given meat as a reward for guiding gliders to the thermals.

The Parahawking Project was started by Scott Mason, who wanted to raise awareness about Asia’s endangered vulture population.

Scott Mason began the Parahawking Project to raise awareness about the plight of Asian vultures.

These majestic creatures are dying off because of the use of an anti-inflammatory cattle drug called Diclofenac. When a vulture eats a dead cow that was treated with this drug, the bird becomes sick within 24 hours.

An anti-inflammatory cattle drug called Diclofenac is killing off vultures in Asia.

Vultures are nature’s cleaning service. Without them, the eco-system would become unbalanced. Carcasses would also be left to rot, which can cause health problems for people who live nearby.

Not everyone realizes what a vital role vultures play in the ecosystem.

So by raising more awareness about how amazing these birds are, Mason hopes there will be more support for saving Asia’s vultures.

Parahawking helps to raise awareness about the problems facing Asia's vultures.

Now see things from the vulture’s perspective.

Finally, it’s time to unwind at a ‘Vulture Restaurant.’ These safe feeding zones have been set up throughout Nepal, providing vultures with a spot to enjoy a meal without risk of being poisoned by a cattle drug. Check out how quickly they tear through this cow carcass.

Would you ever try parahawking? Find out more about it at www.parahawking.com or check out their Facebook page. To find out more about the challenges facing Asia’s vultures, drop by www.save-vultures.org.

Photo credit: Scott Mason/The Parahawking Project
By Dustin Walker on 16/Mar/2014
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Tagged as: Vultures, parahawking, paragliding, himalayas, nepal, amazing