Since 1988, when individual foreigners were again allowed to enter Tibet, the authors grasped the opportunity to see for themselves what havoc was caused by the Chinese occupation, especially regarding the Tibetan culture. The country was visited annually for 4-7 weeks up to 3-4 months per visit. Before the invasion of the Chinese, Tibetans used to bring their dead to special areas outside the village, dismember the corpse and allow the vultures, mainly Himalayan Griffons Gyps himalayensis but also Red-headed Vultures Sarcogyps calvus and Bearded Vultures Gypaetus barbatus, to devour the human remains. Dogs, and locally wolves, also took their share. Bhuddist Tibetans believe that the spirit leaves the body voluntarily after its death, but not so the body-soul. The latter has a tendency to switch to other humans, and in doing so will become a teaser. To prevent this, the body of the deceased has to be dismembered in order to force the teaser into the open air. The vultures are a great help in disposing of the body-soul. The authors spoke to many Tibetans about this tradition. Their tales were remarkably similar. Since the occupation, the Chinese cracked down on these traditional burials, forcing the Tibetans to bum or bury their dead (an impossible task given the lack of soil and wood in the mountains), executing those who tried to continue the traditional air burials and clubbing attending Himalayan Griffons to death. Between 1950 and c. 1995 it is estimated that 1000s of Himalayan Griffons and several 100s of Bearded Vultures were killed, an easy operation because the vultures had become extremely tame following centuries of adaptation to air burials. Culling vultures, dogs and wolves continued into the 1990s, although most vultures had already been wiped out by the 1960s and 1970s. In later decades, the Chinese intermittently held new rounds of vulture killing, in order to prevent the species to increase again. Two such operations were witnessed by the authors in 1992 and 1995, respectively in NW-Tibet near Gerze (5 Bearded Vultures shot by Chinese soldiers) and between Gyantse and Lhasa (126 Himalayan Griffons ditto). Remains of dead vultures were seen at many monasteries in the 1990s, proving the fact that killing continued. As dogs and wolves were also killed, the situation became intolerable because the dead could not be disposed of, and were left behind to rot. The situation slightly improved after 1997, when monks of the big monasteries of Drepung and Sera at Lhasa pointed out that minorities in China have the right to upheld their own traditions. After many hassles, it was agreed that air burials were again allowed in the central valley of Tibet between Shigatze (west of Lhasa) and Djegum (east of Lhasa). However, Himalayan Griffons had become very scarce by then. In western Tibet, the authors failed to see any Himalayan Griffons after 1995 and the number residing in the Tibetan valley between Shigatze and Djegum may not exceed 300 birds. Red-headed Vultures had been virtually wiped out by the time the authors started travelling in Tibet in 1988; during 12 years of traversing the country this species was rarely encountered, and if so exclusively in the provinces of Yunnan and Gansu. According to Tibetans, this species used to be a common visitor of burial sites in the past.