Vultures

Eleven species of vulture are endangered, primarily due to poisoning. In Asia, this includes the ingestion of diclofenac, a veterinary drug for cattle known to harm the birds.

In Cambodia, WCS has stabilized some of the largest remaining populations of critically endangered white-rumped, slender-billed, and redheaded vulture species. By protecting nests and providing supplementary food, these vultures continue to thrive in the Northern Plains Landscape. In 2014, the supplementary feeding program became financially sustainable, through a partnership with a local ecotourism partner, the Sam Veasna Centre. The WCS Health Programs' team in Cambodia assists with investigation of suspected vulture poisonings and recently this work has gained the support of the US CDC as a result of humans also being accidentally poisoned after ingesting livestock meat contaminated with poisons.

Intentional poisoning is having a dire effect on vultures in Africa. It comes in two forms primarily. Lions are poisoned so they don't prey on livestock and their carcasses are then consumed by vultures. Or, vultures are intentionally poisoned by elephant poachers since circling vultures could tip off anti-poaching patrols to the location of illegal killings.  Either way, the decline of vital vulture populations across the continent is rapidly approaching that documented in Asia. WCS is working to stop the carnivore-livestock conflicts at the heart of the problem.

 

Thumbnail Cambodia vulture photo image credit: Allan Michaud

Banner vultures at sunset photo credit: Martin Gilbert


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