Dallas County, TX, considers banning live visits for jail inmates and switching to for-pay videoconferencing service. However, other communities have already installed the system by jail-telecom-for-profit experts, Securus. [more inside]
I lay my fingertip there, just inside the socket, where some of the bone is chipped away: it was pecked out, by the beaks of vultures. These are the markings the huge black birds made when they consumed her eyes, with the permission of her family.The Oxford American on the people who work at, and the people who choose to donate their bodies to, the Forensic Anthropology Research Facility in San Marcos, Texas, the largest of America’s five “body farms.”
The Mumbai Parsi community is hoping to return vultures to their traditional and religious role of eating the dead by building aviaries near the Towers of Silence where the Zoroastrian dead are laid out to be stripped clean by vultures. For the past fifteen years, there have been barely a dozen vultures in Mumbai, and members of the community have increasingly turned to cremation (especially during the rainy season), which the religion considers unclean. The community hopes to have vultures return to eating the dead by February 2014. [more inside]
India's vultures are vanishing. Populations of three species on the sub-continent have plummeted since the 1980s from 50 million to less than 60,000. Their disappearance could lead to widespread increase in human diseases.
International Vulture Awareness Day 2009 is Saturday, September 5th, but the '24 hours of vulture blogging' has already started (19:00 GMT, 11:00 MeFiTime). [more inside]
Of some concern large carrion luggage
Peaceful co-existence with the animal kingdom, example #240. At a local boat ramp in the Richmond, VA suburbs, there is a problem with black vultures causing damage to cars. The buzzards are being attracted by trash and food scraps being left by fishermen cleaning their catch. The birds are scratching trucks and cars, crapping wherever they please (the nerve!), and ripping out the rubber from windshield wipers. What does Chesterfield County decide to do about it? They hired the U.S. Department of Agriculture's wildlife services program to eradicate the entire flock.
The vultures of India are dying, with a population decline of over 90% in just over the last decade, probably due to an unknown virus. The decline in vultures is a problem for the Parsis of Bombay in particular, who, as Zoroastrians, have come to depend on the vultures to dispose of their dead at the famous Towers of Silence.