Animal cafes have slowly become popular all across the globe. You might have heard of cat cafes, bunny hotels and even dog spas, but ever come across a &lsquovulture restaurant' Today these ungainly birds are endangered species, courtesy rapid urbanisation, deteriorating climate and other man-made activities that has led to reduced food sources for these birds. Reports also suggest that their declining numbers can be attributed to the drug Diclofenac that causes kidney failure in vultures. However, this unique restaurant in Himachal Pradesh&rsquo Kangra district is determined to do some damage control.
The &lsquovulture restaurant&rsquo has gained quick popularity among the locals for working towards the conservation of several species of vultures. Established in Sukharna village by the wildlife wing of the forest department of the state, the restaurant sprawls over 10,000 sq m. It allows the local population to bring in dead animals and livestock as food for the vultures, anytime between 10am to 4pm.
In 2004, the state government decided to protect the deteriorating numbers of vultures, when the statistics revealed that there were only 26 vulture nests remaining with 23 baby vultures in the Pongdam wetland area. The restaurant was established in 2008, and by 2019, the numbers saw a significant increase with 387 nests carrying 352 baby vultures.
The establishment of the restaurant has also resulted in an increased participation of the locals in the conservation process. However, this concept isn&rsquot new. The first vulture restaurant was established in South Africa in 1966, followed by many such institutions in Cambodia, Switzerland, Spain and Nepal.