Is chicken your go-to meat option? Do you crave a creamy duck curry during Easter? Is the image that appears in your head when you hear Thanksgiving Day that of a yummy whole-roasted turkey? Then you are a certified 'edible avian' lover, in other words, a connoisseur of bird meat. Birds, ranging from chicken to ostrich, have been part of traditional diets throughout history and across various cultures. However, the popularity of consuming specific bird species varies widely based on cultural, religious, and regional factors. Restaurant chains featuring signature dishes made of chicken have found success globally in the past decades. But which birds should you eat? The answer varies according to your geographical location and cultural background.
Now, there is this term that might catch a bird-meat lover's eye and has been doing rounds in the media recently. There were reports of a 'vulture restaurant' at the Bandipur National Park in Karnataka. What is a vulture restaurant? Do they serve vultures there? Can we eat there? Or do we get eaten by vultures there? We have all the answers for you. A vulture restaurant is not a dining place, but rather a conservation concept aimed at supporting dwindling vulture populations. They are essentially feeding sites set up by conservationists and wildlife authorities to provide safe and uncontaminated food sources for vultures. These sites are designed to help counteract the threats faced by vultures in the wild, such as poisoning from consuming carcasses containing veterinary drugs or chemicals.
Conservationists and forest officials often place carcasses from animals that have died of natural causes, electrocuted from power lines, or have been donated by farmers in these designated areas. By providing a clean and safe food source, vulture restaurants contribute to the well-being and survival of vulture populations. Recently, the carcass of Thanneer Komban, the elephant that died after being tranquilized and relocated to Bandipur forest in Karnataka, was taken to the vulture feeding spot. According to Karnataka forest authorities, hundreds of vultures, even those flying in from Kerala's Wayanad, reach the feeding spot soon after an animal carcass is dropped. It takes them around three days to finish off an elephant.
Can you eat vultures?
The real question is “should you?” Vultures play a crucial role in ecosystems by scavenging and consuming carrion, thereby helping to control the spread of diseases and maintaining a healthy balance in the environment. However, various factors, including habitat loss, poisoning, and collisions with power lines, have led to a decline in vulture populations in some regions. Conservation efforts, such as the establishment of vulture restaurants, aim to address these threats and promote the recovery of vulture populations.