In this derelict valley
where old satellite photos show
there were once forests and fertile plains
farmers scratch a poor living
and hide from packs of rabid dogs.
Vultures once cleaned up the dead
animals that now pile
across the land. The last vultures
died years ago, staggering and deformed
poisoned by banned drugs.
The aliens behind their invisibility shields
telemessage back to their planet
turn through the wormhole
Population of white backed vulture in northern India in 1990s - 30 million
Population of white backed vultures today - 11 000
The dramatic fall in population has been caused by use of the veterinary drug Diclofenac, which stays in the carcasses of domestic animals and is then ingested by vutures. The drug has been banned for animal use but is still available for human use and is still finding its way into the vultures. The drug Meloxicam is a vulture-safe alternative to Diclofenac. All three species of Indian vulture will probably be extinct within ten years. There is evidence that Diclofenac is now being exported to Africa.
To find out more about vultures in crisis across the world and about successful breeding programmes, visit the Vulture Rescue website. If you live within the distribution range of any vultures in Asia, you can help map their popluations, see here for details.
Science Fiction for Read Write Poem
You can read my recent scifaiku here and here.
You can read an earlier poem I wrote about vultures here.