Hyderabad Parsis Resort To Tech For Last Rites

The dwindling number of vultures in Hyderabad has resulted in its 1,200-strong Parsi community turning to technology for the last rites of its dearly departed, according to state news agencies. To speed up the decomposition of corpses, Hyderabad’s Tower of Silence, located in Parsi Gutta, has installed a solar concentrator which focuses the sun’s rays onto the bodies.

The Parsi community hopes that the 8,000-year-old tradition of leaving the bodies to nature’s elements will see a revival, once the number of vultures increases, as this is a speedier process compared to the solar panel based system which depends on the intensity and extent of the sunshine.

Meanwhile, the Union government’s Action Plan for Vulture Conservation (APVC) 2020-25 for the next five years includes prevention of poisoning of cattle carcasses, the principal food of vultures, enhancement of conservation breeding programmes in the country, regular monitoring of vultures across the country, enhancing the vulture safe zone network by creating at least one vulture safe zone in each State and continuing to work on existing efforts of vulture safe zones.

As most vultures die after consuming carcasses of animals that were administered painkillers such as Diclofenac, a veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs), the Centre plans to stop the misuse and overuse of NSAIDs by regulating its sale only against prescription and ensuring that all treatment of livestock is done by qualified veterinarians. Scientific management of dumping of carcasses was also suggested. Vultures consume dead animals when they were left in the open. If the animals died because of synthetic pesticides, then vultures or scavenging birds, feeding on it will die around the carcass. If the carcasses have toxic NSAID residue, the birds would die within one week.

In addition to the eight existing conservation breeding centres in the country, establishment of five more centres was suggested, one each in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Tripura. The founder stock for these centres has to be obtained from the existing VCBCs (Vulture Conservation Breeding Centres) in India.


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