Pain of Extinction: The Death of a Vulture

Thom Van Dooren
2010 Cultural Studies Review  
It will take two days for him to die. The food that he has just eaten has poisoned him. His kidneys will fail, causing a build up of uric acid crystals in his internal organs. These crystals will cut into and kill off the tissues that surround them, causing painful lesions, swelling and inflammation. He will likely get weaker as time goes by. Suffering from lethargy and depression, his neck will begin to droop in the manner characteristic of the sick and weak members of his kind. Eventually,
more » ... ind. Eventually, dead or near to death, he will fall from his perch to the ground below. It is in this way that almost all the vultures in India and the surrounding regions have met their end over the past two decades. Where once their numbers were so great that they weren't counted seriously in most bird life surveys, they are now expected to be extinct in the wild in the next few years. But Asian vultures are by no means alone in this headlong rush towards extinction. We are living in the midst of the earth's sixth great extinction event, the first to be caused by a single species, our own. At present, species are dying more quickly than we can count them-let alone conserve them. Some estimates place VOLUME16 NUMBER2 SEPT2010 272
doi:10.5130/csr.v16i2.1702 fatcat:4unx4l5shbbzll5nfooxzdshmm