I DON’T KNOW much about paragliding, but I know this looks pretty cool. I became more familiar with the sport when Benjamin Jordan power-paraglided across Canada over 108 days, raising funds for summer camps for kids, culminating in an inspirational documentary called Dream.
Parahawking is the combination of paragliding and falconry (using trained birds of prey to hunt). It’s practiced in Nepal — where they use Egyptian Vultures and Black Kites — and Spain — where Harris Hawks are used. In Nepal all the birds they use are rescued birds (orphaned, injured, or freed as pets) and in Spain they are captive bred.
The birds guide the paragliders to “thermals”, pockets of rising warm air, and in exchange the paragliders feed them bits of meat in-flight. Check out this video (I especially dig the cover of Abba’s “The Winner Takes It All”):
Parahawking also supports vulture conservation through education and donating 10 euros per flight to vulture conservation projects. Approximately 40 million vultures — 99.9% — over the last 15 years have died in Asia due to an anti-inflammatory drug that is administered to sick and dying livestock to reduce pain and suffering for them. While it works for them, the vultures pay the price when they eat the meat.