Old Age Home for Holy Cows Sustains Vulture Populations!

April 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm 3 comments

Chandra Adhikari, of Trivani Nepal, shares a remarkable project in the Dang district.  This innovative project approaches conservation of one species by tending to the elderly in another species.  Enjoy the descriptions below as Chandra recounts the  mutually beneficial relationship of  vultures and cows in one Nepal community.

During my last site visit to Chitwan, I had privilege to visit Nawalparashi.  As we were in Nawalparashi we found that the vulture conservation project is also going on in that area. We were exited to see the project since the vultures are birds that can not be seen easily.

The project was recently started in that area as a branch of Dang project. One of the volunteer staff who is working in the project told us that if we would like to see the bigger project we need to visit Dang. Our enthusiasm about the project took us to Dang which is situated in the western side of Nepal, almost 500 km (around 1000 miles) far from Kathmandu the capital of Nepal.

During our visit we had opportunity to talk to the community Chairman of the project, Sovakanta Neupane.  We also saw that an old age home for cows is operating there.  We asked the president how this old age home concept came to be and he explained:

When the cows become old and unproductive the people of this area used to leave them to the jungle since the cow is a national animal and can not be killed by the locals. The Nepalese who belong to HINDU faith praise the cow as the god LAXMI.  The cows used to come and destroy the crops in our field. So we thought if we start the old age home that will serve in two ways; on one side it will help to preserve the crops from those old animals and on another side it will provide love and care to those old cows and when they die, it will also solve the problem of the fodders for the vultures.  Now, people who know that the old age home is running here bring their old cows from far distances. If the people from far distances  leave their old cow we give them Nrs- 50 for tea expenses. 

He also recounted that they are proud that the future generation can see vultures since the vulture is a bird that is seen rarely; they are happy that they initiated this project.

This project has been running since 2000. The local people say that there are eight different kinds of vultures and five out of eight kinds can be seen in this area. This is the result of the project.  One of the locals, Shovekhar Bhushal said, “I did not see vultures for about twenty five to thirty years. I am happy that I and future generations can see this bird now onwards; a bird that can not be seen very easily or often.”

As with many projects of this nature, there are funding issues which trouble the program directors.  They are challenged to find funding to continue the project.   Sovakanta Neupane told Chandra that they are seeking a regular source of funding for the project to ensure that the project staff can be paid and that the cows can be fed.  Additionally, they hope to acquire a computer and internet access in the future to promote fundraising efforts on-line and stay in contact with supportive visitors.  Presently, residents in the area donate to the project, therein showing that they acknowledge the importance of the project in preserving their crops, protecting vultures and ensuring a dignified death for the holy cows.

Chandra suggested to Shovakanta Neupane that they establish a boundary for the project area and charge a reasonable entrance fee for visitors to provide some additional funding.  Chandra said the project area and the mission are so wonderful; he hopes to see them find funding and continue to see their dreams unfold.


Entry filed under: Nepal. Tags: , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Megan  |  April 1, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Great work Chandra and Rai–this post is awesome and such a cool and unusual concept.

    • 2. Rai Farrelly  |  April 1, 2010 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks, Meg. It was fun to write about! I’m continually impressed by the projects of our partners!

  • 3. A.S.BHURE  |  January 16, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Very Very good project. I am impressed & I also like to start such project near Nasik city Maharashtra state in India if land & Water is made available by imminent persons.
    A.S.BHURE Asst. DAIRY ENGINEER GOVT. Milk Scheme Nashik


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Trivani Field Notes is your connection to the people on the ground engaged in the humanitarian work supported by Trivani Foundation.
Each week, new updates and stories from the field will be posted to share the accomplishments, needs, and gratitude from those who can best report the difference Trivani Foundation is making in the fight against poverty.

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