Dwindling vultures cost more than you think
As Nature’s primary scavengers, vultures have always been credited with performing a useful service to society and now scientists have put a value to it, highlighting that the birds’ declining population could be costlier than thought.
A recent study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that 600 vultures consume the same amount of animal waste as a medium utility plant required to dispose it. The India office of IUCN has arrived at a value based on the scavenging services: A vulture is worth Rs 6.96 lakh in urban India and Rs 5.85 lakh in rural areas.
In the past two decades, the vulture population in the country has declined drastically. Today less than 1% vultures are left of their population in the early 1980s. “Vulture numbers declined from about 40 million in the 1980s to less than 0.1 million now. This is the steepest decline in the population of any species,” said Vibhu Prakash, principal scientist at the Bombay Natural History Society.