Parahawking is easily the coolest new extreme sport there is, and it’s all going down in Nepal against the backdrop of the Himalayas. In short: it’s paragliding with vultures and hawks. It’s adventure travel to the extreme. But really it’s so, so much more than that.
Picture this: you’re suspended in a paragliding harness, high over Nepal, and an Egyptian vulture comes along to feed from your hand. It’s like being in-tune with nature on a whole different level, creating a delightful experience out of adventure and education.
Many vulture species in Nepal are almost extinct. Why? According to ABC News, much of it is due to an anti-inflammatory drug given to cattle. When the cattle die, vultures come to feast on the remains – as many as 200 vultures. But the drug causes kidney failure in the vultures, and in just one day, every single one of them is dead.
You’re probably thinking, who cares about vultures, right? They feed on dead things. BUT the thing is, without vultures, rotting meat would contaminate land and water quickly. Nepal already has an increased number of rabid dogs and rats because of this, which isn’t good news for anybody.
So along comes do-gooder Scott Mason. He figured that if people want the kind of travel experiences where interaction with wildlife is mandatory – like swimming with dolphins – then why not get up close to some birds of prey? In doing so, people will have more respect for these birds, and hopefully will eventually turn around the whole extinction process.
It’s an awesome idea, although slightly terrifying. I’m not sure how I’d feel about a massive meat-eating bird swooping down at me while I’m suspended in the air, but who knows. I think some regular ‘ol Nepal bird watching would be more up my alley. Would you try parahawking?