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Found 8 results

  1. ~ This June, 2016 research article published in Biological Conservation presents findings from a comprehensive survey of the threats resulting in the collapse of vulture populations, primarily due to ingestion of dietary toxins. Declining vulture populations may result in trophic cascades within local ecosystems as well as disease outbreaks. Vultures are obligate vertebrate scavengers which is an essential service for eliminating decaying meat and entrails on carcasses.
  2. ~ This June, 2017 blog post in Nature, as well as similar articles in Africa Geographic and Yale Environment 360, explains the direct link between the increase in vulture poisonings and the corresponding increase in feral dogs probe to contracting rabies. Vultures are both unintentionally poisoned when eating carcasses of predators which had eaten livestock, and are intentionally poisoned by poachers seeking to conceal where they've killed wildlife.
  3. I have always been a bird-watcher. Other than the Crowned Eagle, vultures have always been my favourite group of birds. They're charismatic, comical, regal (yes), beautiful (oh yes), full of character, and a MAJOR keystone group for ecosystems across the globe. If White Rhinos were to go extinct, not a whole lot would change. Other large browsers would continue to fill their role in the ecosystem. When vultures almost went extinct in India recently, the government had to fork out $40 Billion dollars in human healthcare costs alone due to the rise in infectious diseases (rabies, anthrax, etc.) spread by the exploding population of feral dogs. You see, 100 vultures can strip a wildebeest carcass down to bare bones in less than an hour. If that wildebeest carcass contains Bovine TB or Anthrax, the acid in the vultures gut kills it - effectively removing it from the system. Without those vultures, it will take mammalian scavengers several days to break down the carcass to the same level, and in the process, they'll go and spread all the disease contained in the carcass. Without the vultures, mammalian scavengers (including dogs in peri-urban areas) will increase, thereby increasing the avenues for disease to spread. Here's what's stressing me out: 7 of Africa's 11 Vulture species are either Endangered or Critically Endangered, having undergone massive population declines across the continent over the last 15 years. There are several reasons for this, and the causes differ from region to region. - In West Africa: vulture declines are mostly due to the trade in their body parts for "traditional" medicine and a loss of habitat. - In East Africa: vulture declines are mostly due to poisoning - feeding on carcasses poisoned to kill predators. Vulture poisonings are not intentional, but an "accidental" by-product of human-predator conflict. While 1 or 2 lions, 1 or 2 hyenas might die from a poisoned cow carcass, several hundred vultures will die from direct poisoning, and many chicks will die without their (now dead) parents to care for them. Habitat loss as well, of course. - In Southern Africa: vulture declines are also due to poisoning - but here's where it gets a bit more sinister. Most vulture poisoning events in Southern Africa are purposeful. Poachers lace the carcasses of the animal they've killed with poison to kill the vultures and stop them from being a herald to anti-poaching teams who look for vultures flying to a kill. A single elephant carcass can kill 600 vultures. There is some evidence to show that the "muti" (witch-craft) trade is also a contributing factor. The governments in vulture range nations need to wake up to the fact that a complete loss of vultures will result in huge costs to both human and livestock health. Please, first look for the full episode of BBC's "Vultures: Beauty In The Beast" (Natural World, episode 10) and watch it. There's so much great information, high-quality videography, and conservation information in there. I cannot recommend this documentary highly enough. Please also visit (Birdlife International's Vulture Conservation Campaign) to find out how to support them in their efforts to save Africa's vultures from extinction. This is an issue very close to my heart, so I appreciate you taking the time to go through this. Thanks, AB
  4. Birdlife International needs your help to implement their campaign to save vultures across Africa. Did you know that 7 of Africa's 11 vulture species are on the brink? 7 species are either classed as "Endangered" or "Critically Endangered" on IUCN's Red List of Species. While vultures in Southern Asia are now COMING BACK from almost total extinction, Africa's vultures are now in more danger from poisoning (direct and indirect), harvesting for traditional medicine, electrocution, habitat loss, decline in food availability, and disturbance at breeding sites. If you have the means, however small that may be, it would be very helpful if you could contribute to Birdlife International as they work with thousands stakeholders on the ground across Africa to save these vultures from extinction. Please visit: and to find out more. If you're on Facebook, please share posts from Birdlife's vulture page on your own personal page (and relevant bird, conservation, raptor pages you may be on) If you're on Twitter, please use the #lovevultures tag and share the links widely. I recently shared one titled: "Vultures: So hardcore they eat anthrax for breakfast" Just so you know, Birdlife International is one of the oldest conservation organizations in the world and has had many successes in bird and habitat conservation through their many local partners across the globe. They are well-respected, transparent, and results-driven. Thanks!
  5. I have just gotten back from a fantastic 4 day trip to the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, bordering the Kruger National Park. I was there to monitor trees containing vulture nests and score the damage on the trees as a result of elephant impact. We had various encounters with elephants whilst on foot, and were lucky enough to see spotted hyena and side striped jackal as well.Being out in the field is always one of the perks of being a researcher here in Greater Kruger.
  6. This article from the Times of Oman explains how the number of pairs of breeding vultures on Oman's Masirah Island have quadrupled since the 1980s. The Environmental Society of Oman and the Sultanate have implemented Phase 2 of the Egyptian Vulture Conservation Project. The article notes that the veterinary drug Diclofenac, which has adversely affected vulture populations around the globe, is not used in Oman.
  7. This Live Science article by two Wildlife Conservation Society bird specialists, one a photographer, provides substantial information about vultures. The high-quality photographs illustrate various vulture species. The article notes that ancient cultures around the globe revered vultures, which are now endangered by veterinary drugs which they ingest through eating carrion.
  8. The recent death of up to 600 vultures after feeding on a poisoned elephant carcass near Namibia’s Bwabwata National Park in July confirms that the indiscriminate use of poison is one of the major causes of the ongoing decline in vulture populations across most of Africa. a disturbing article from IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization.Founded in 1948) about the less publicised victims of Africa's poaching crisis click here to read the e-bulletin

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