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Biology Matters: Vultures Help Keep Our Environment and Neighborhoods Clean
Biology Matters: Vultures Help Keep Our Environment and Neighborhoods Clean

Biology Matters: Vultures Help Keep Our Environment and Neighborhoods Clean

Vultures keep our environment and neighborhood clean. They help prevent rabies, plague, anthrax. They help keep our water clean. For free! No “gas footprint” and all that! So be nice to them, please.

I used to not like them before I knew better. Now that I now their nature and their role in our ecology, I appreciate them.

In India, some uninformed (not considering ecology and biology and the requirements of human life) use of some anti-inflammatory drug in cattle caused widespread destruction of Vultures. Now they have to deal with outbreaks of diseases like rabies, because Vultures are not there to clean up the diseases. They have intensely strong stomach acid!

See, for a start:
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_vulture_crisis
2. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19926684-400-rabies-tragedy-follows-loss-of-indias-vultures/
3. https://india.mongabay.com/2018/02/05/declining-vulture-population-can-cause-a-health-crisis/

On Wikipedia, they say: “The sudden collapse of the natural animal disposal system in India has had multiple consequences. The carcasses formerly eaten by vultures rot in village fields leading to contaminated drinking water. The disappearance of vultures has allowed other species such as rat and wild dog populations to grow. These newly abundant scavengers are not as efficient as vultures. A vulture’s metabolism is a true ‘dead-end’ for pathogens, but dogs and rats become carriers of the pathogens.[17] India has an estimated 18 million wild dogs, the largest population of carnivores in the world, which has led to increase in leopards invading inhabited areas preying on feral dogs leading to conflicts with humans.

“The mammals also carry diseases from rotting carcasses such as rabies, anthrax, plague etc. and are indirectly responsible for thousands of human deaths.[18] In India, 30,000 people die from rabies each year, more than half the world’s total.[19] Around half a million Indians are treated for rabies each year, at a cost of ₹1,500 (US$21) per person, while the average wage in India is ₹120 (US$1.70) per day. According to a study in 2007, the expenses for medical care to treat animal bites cost India ₹750 million (US$10 million) per year. In addition to the cost of care, the government faces the problem of managing the population of disease carriers. Vaccination and sterilization of animals cost money. It is estimated that the decline of vultures costs India ₹1.7 trillion (US$24 billion) per year.”

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