Scott Mason is standing firm in the face of a sustained local media campaign against his parahawking centre in Pokhara, Nepal.
According to a news report in the London Evening Standard on 17 February, the centre faces closure.
The Evening Standard reported: ‘The Nepalese government has announced that the Himalayan Raptor Rescue Centre in Pokhara is to be closed following allegations that it was illegally holding endangered birds and that the parahawking amounted to cruelty.’
However, Scott corrected the news report via his Facebook site, saying: “Please note, we are not ‘grounded’ as reported in the Evening Standard. We are still going strong and will deal with any problems that come our way through the correct channels.
“The best way to keep supporting us and vulture conservation is to continue to fly with us, that way we can raise more money to save the vultures.”
Parahawking in Nepal
Scott’s centre has been subject to a month-long campaign by a Nepalese newspaper to shut down Scott’s operation. The ‘Mason Must Go!’ campaign claimed Scott was illegally holding endangered species in his rescue centre.
However, Bird Conservation Nepal, a local conservation group, has backed Scott. Chief executive Hum Guring said: “The work of the Himalayan Raptor Centre is much appreciated and is also an important source of income for sustaining the rescue works and to support vulture conservation in Nepal.”
Scott has operated in Nepal for a decade and has given tandem parahawking flights to hundreds of tourists. Alongside the tandem operation he runs a rescue centre for vultures and birds of prey.
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