Photo 11 Sep 55 notes 600 vultures killed by elephant poachers in Namibia

As the illegal poaching of African elephants and rhinos reaches epidemic levels, other species are also suffering catastrophic losses as a direct result of poachers’ behavior. A recent incident in July, where a poisoned elephant carcass led to the death of 600 vultures near Namibia’s Bwabwata National Park, has highlighted how poachers’ use of poison is now one of the primary threats to vulture populations. Poachers poison carcasses to kill vultures, since large flocks may give away the location of poaching activity, attracting the attention of law enforcement officials.
"By poisoning carcasses, poachers hope to eradicate vultures from an area where they operate and thereby escape detection," explains Leo Niskanen, Technical Coordinator, IUCN Conservation Areas and Species Diversity Programme. "The fact that incidents such as these can be linked to the rampant poaching of elephants in Africa is a serious concern. Similar incidents have been recorded in Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia in recent years".
African vultures are highly imperiled, and are under pressure from a range of factors, including habitat loss as well as poisonings. Drastic population declines over the last 30 years have resulted in many species being classified as threatened by the IUCN. On average, the number of vultures in West Africa has dropped by 42% during this time, with Rueppell’s vulture (Gyps rueppellii) suffering losses of up to 85%….
The current decline may have serious ecological and human health consequences in the longer term, say IUCN experts. The loss of vultures would be keenly felt, because they play a critical role within an ecosystem. Their scavenging behavior does not endear them to people, but by quickly cleaning carcasses they limit the spread of disease to humans, domestic animals, and wildlife, as well as keeping populations of other species which spread disease in check. They also offer a valuable service to farmers, who would otherwise need to pay to dispose of diseased or injured livestock. Where vulture populations have recently crashed in India, increases in rabies and feral dogs can be directly attributed to the loss of these aerial scavengers.
Although poisoning by poachers is rife, farmers also use poison to reduce predator populations to safeguard their livestock, and this can severely impact vultures too. Kolberg sees limiting the use of poison in general as key to vulture conservation.

(Read more at Mongabay.com)
Photo: Cape vulture (Gyps coprotheres) by André Botha.

600 vultures killed by elephant poachers in Namibia

As the illegal poaching of African elephants and rhinos reaches epidemic levels, other species are also suffering catastrophic losses as a direct result of poachers’ behavior. A recent incident in July, where a poisoned elephant carcass led to the death of 600 vultures near Namibia’s Bwabwata National Park, has highlighted how poachers’ use of poison is now one of the primary threats to vulture populations. Poachers poison carcasses to kill vultures, since large flocks may give away the location of poaching activity, attracting the attention of law enforcement officials.

"By poisoning carcasses, poachers hope to eradicate vultures from an area where they operate and thereby escape detection," explains Leo Niskanen, Technical Coordinator, IUCN Conservation Areas and Species Diversity Programme. "The fact that incidents such as these can be linked to the rampant poaching of elephants in Africa is a serious concern. Similar incidents have been recorded in Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia in recent years".

African vultures are highly imperiled, and are under pressure from a range of factors, including habitat loss as well as poisonings. Drastic population declines over the last 30 years have resulted in many species being classified as threatened by the IUCN. On average, the number of vultures in West Africa has dropped by 42% during this time, with Rueppell’s vulture (Gyps rueppellii) suffering losses of up to 85%….

The current decline may have serious ecological and human health consequences in the longer term, say IUCN experts. The loss of vultures would be keenly felt, because they play a critical role within an ecosystem. Their scavenging behavior does not endear them to people, but by quickly cleaning carcasses they limit the spread of disease to humans, domestic animals, and wildlife, as well as keeping populations of other species which spread disease in check. They also offer a valuable service to farmers, who would otherwise need to pay to dispose of diseased or injured livestock. Where vulture populations have recently crashed in India, increases in rabies and feral dogs can be directly attributed to the loss of these aerial scavengers.

Although poisoning by poachers is rife, farmers also use poison to reduce predator populations to safeguard their livestock, and this can severely impact vultures too. Kolberg sees limiting the use of poison in general as key to vulture conservation.

(Read more at Mongabay.com)

Photo: Cape vulture (Gyps coprotheres) by André Botha.

#vulture #scavenger #poison #poaching #Namibia #Africa #endangered #conservation #birds #Cape Vulture #Gyps coprotheres #Gyps

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    There’s this ad for a charity combatting child mortality in Africa, which has a stork and a vulture fighting and the...

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