The Aviary Project – Khojeste Mistry
Some time in November of 1998, I was invited to a Bombay Parsi Punchayet Board to discuss the vexed dakhma problem mainly appertaining to the drastic fall of the vulture population in the environs of Doongerwadi. The directive at this meeting by the Trustees was that at all costs the mode of dokhmenashini, was to be strengthened and that a way should be found to augment the vulture population, if possible. In other words, if the dakhma system was to remain fully functional, then what could one do which :
(a) would be in consonance with the religion, and
(b) give one a long term answer to solve the problem of diminishing vultures which was of grave concern to all those present at this meeting.
As I was traveling to England shortly, the chairman of the BPP, Mr. J. Guzder requested me to talk to Dr. David Houston, an internationally renowned expert on vultures in Scotland, whom I had met some twenty years earlier in Mumbai at our Doongerwadi grounds. My brief was to find out how best one could augment the vulture population for our dakhmas and whether vultures could live in captivity, if the right facilities were created at our sacred grove of Doongerwadi, itself.
Do we know anything about the causes – the origins of the drastic drop in the vulture population in Doongerwadi area?