The Parahawking Project started out in Nepal in 2001 and was developed as a way to rehabilitate and release injured and rescued birds of prey by flying them in their own natural environment, allowing them to gain the fitness they needed in order to survive in the wild.
During the rehabilitation training of our first 2 rescued Black Kites, it was clear that these birds were not suitable for release back to the wild as they had now become imprinted on humans during the rearing process. This meant that they were now likely to spend their lives with us and it was our responsibility to make that as enriched as possible.
Teaching these birds to fly with the paragliders, or as we now called it "Parahawking" provided the daily exercise that these birds needed, it taught them the flying skills they would need if they were to evade other predators and gave them the enrichment they needed to live a happy and healthy life. But it was not just the birds that benefited from this activity, we were given an incredible opportunity to be able to study birds in flight like never before and even use them to enhance our own flying experience. Just like paragliders, when birds of prey fly their aim is to conserve as much energy as possible, they do this by riding the warm currents of air known as thermals. As thermal currents rise upwards, the birds will hitch a ride, this enables them to gain height where they will have a greater advantage of finding food and to travel long distances without the need for flapping their wings. This unique ability to conserve energy when flying meant that they would guide the paragliders to where the next thermals were thereby allowing us to fly longer and further, they became our aerial guides.
During the early years in Nepal, it was evident that there were noticeably fewer and fewer vultures in the skies
During our 16 years in Nepal, we rescued and rehabilitated more than 100 different species of birds of prey, birds that were either injured or orphaned and were brought into our center. Majority of these birds were successfully released back into the wild, however a few were not able to be released due to the effects of human imprinting so therefore had to remain in captivity. These birds were trained for Parahawking which was proven to be the most effective way to provide the daily fitness and enrichment they needed. Two such birds were Egyptian Vultures, Kevin and Bob, rescued two years apart 2005 and 2007.