International Vulture Awareness Day
4th September 2020
5th September is International Vulture Awareness Day. These incredible birds are vital to ensuring healthy ecosystems. Feeding on carrion, they help clean carcasses that would otherwise be spreaders of disease.
SAVE – Saving Asian Vultures from Extinction – is one of many projects involving CCI partners which are working to conserve and boost vulture populations.
RSPB Globally Threatened Species Officer & SAVE Programme Manager Chris Bowden, says:
“Vultures are magnificent birds, playing a major clean-up role in our environment, and of the 23 species worldwide, over half of them are red-listed by IUCN as endangered with extinction – they face a range of threats, mainly different forms of poisoning, and definitely need our help.”
Whilst there is still much work to be done, there is also good news. Results of releases of White Rumped Vultures in Nepal are showing positive signs, and relate to fantastic progress in removing the drug diclofenac from the environment there The first confirmed signs of population recoveries in Nepal were published last year. This drug is a major threat to vultures and has recently been banned for veterinary use by the Cambodian government.
White Rumped Vulture: Chris Bowden
Restore Species is a partnership between BirdLife International, Fauna and Flora International, Traffic and WCS working to save critically endangered species world wide. Vulture conservation is one of their key projects and you can find out more about their work here.
RSPB are one of the partners working on projects to save Egyptian Vultures ; a migratory species which breed in the Balkans and winter in Africa. Find out more about this project in a recent talk given by Steffen Oppel at the recent Bird Fair here. Steffen has also written a blog about their work which you can read in full below. He says of vultures: “No carcass is too disgusting for them, and by removing rotting animal flesh from the landscape they reduce the substrate on which pathogens can thrive, or the pool of viruses that may have initially killed that now dead animal. With vultures efficiently cleaning up carcasses of even large animals, the risk of pathogens spreading to other live animals (or possibly humans) may be considerably lower“.
Egyptian Vultures cleaning a carcass in the Balkans: Egyptian Vulture New Life Project
Banner Image: tagged Egyptian Vulture; Egyptian Vulture New Life Project