Decreasing vultures and increasing Rabies

Nov 16, 2015

The vultures the scavangers are alarmingly decreasing in Indian subcontinent. They act as a kind of biosterilizers as most of the pathogens including that of Rabies are destroyed inside their acidic stomachs and so they excrete almost pathogen free carrion and thus help in preventing the spread of infections from carcasses.

The below metioned information has been taken from the website mentioned here below.



Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2003

From: Pablo Nart <>

Source: The Guardian, 4 Feb 2003 [edited]


Vulture deaths bring rise in rabies


The catastrophic decline of the vulture population in India, vital to

cleaning the streets of offal and rubbish, has led to an explosion in the

number of feral dogs and an increasing human death toll from rabies. An

unknown virus has been killing 3 species of the once numerous vultures in

the last 10 years. This has led to a crisis.

Habitually, butchers threw offal outside for the vultures, which

effectively solved the waste problem. The vulture's niche has now been

taken over by feral dogs, the main carriers of rabies. More people now die

of rabies in India than anywhere else.

Zoroastrians have had to abandon their traditional practice of placing

their dead on Towers of Silence for the vultures to eat.

So alarmed has the government become about the diminished vulture

population they have set up a rehabilitation centre to save sick birds and

release them into the wild.

Britain has donated 145 000 GBP [236 311 USD] for a centre near Delhi, and

Elliot Morley, the department of the environment minister for wildlife,

will officially open it on Saturday,7 Feb 2003. Mr Morley said "There has

been a very high mortality, around 97 per cent of vultures have disappeared."

[byline: Paul Brown]




[While it may be true that an increase in rabies incidence is being

observed in India, the statement "more people now die of rabies in India

than anywhere else" was valid before the vulture die-off. The latest

available World Survey of Rabies that includes India (WHO, 1998) stated

that "the highest incidence continued to be observed in Asia with 33 075

reported human deaths due to rabies. Most of them (estimated 30 000)

occurred in India".


- Mod.AS]

[see also:



Vulture die-off - India, Pakistan, Nepal (04) 20021018.5590

Vulture die-off - India, Pakistan, Nepal (03) 20021015.5557

Vulture die-off - India, Pakistan, Nepal (02) 20021014.5552

Vulture die-off - India, Pakistan, Nepal: RFI 20021010.5514]