|Himalayan Griffon Vulture|
|European Griffon Vulture|
So what makes vultures so special? Well, to repeat myself and strengthened their case, you have to understand they feed mostly on carcasses of dead animals, generally not killing their own prey. As scavengers they play such an important role in the ecosystem, assisting the decomposition of dead animal matter, cleansing the environment and most importantly for us, they reduce the spread of harmful diseases. In short, there is no reason to harm this group of birds and every reason to support efforts to conserve them.
|Black Vulture feeding on a carcass|
1. United States, the California condor has struggled to maintain a sustainable population as lead poisoning continues to be the single most important threat to its survival. Hunters using lead ammunition will at times wound target species and allow them to die in remote locations. Condors feeding on the carcass ingest the lead shot and as a result are slowly poisoned to death.
2. In Eurasia it has been found that the use of Diclofenac, a painkiller for livestock and humans in India and Nepal, has caused staggering countless thousands of vulture deaths. Recently, Diclofenac has been banned, but conservationists argue that it has come too late to allow for survival of vulture species decimated by its initial use.
3. In African countries, such as Kenya and Namibia, farmers targeting lions and other predatory species that they consider a threat to livestock and humans lace carcasses with the extremely toxic carbamate pesticide Furadan. Animals that ingest Furadan suffer horrible deaths and then themselves pose a huge health risk to other scavenger species that ingest their carcass perpetuating this deadly act.
4. Across the European Union scavengers are threatened with extinction owing to a well intended, but ill-conceived regulation introduced by the EU government in Brussels. This regulation (1774/2002) dates from the year 2002, where the fear of BSE or “mad cow disease” was rampant in Europe and the EU, which issued a number of new directives to protect the population as much as possible from exposure to the epidemic. As part of these new regulations, it was decreed that dead cows, sheep, goats and horses would need to be disposed of in a licensed animal disposal facilities. Before this new regulation it was normal that when farmed animals died in remote and inaccessible pastures, particularly in Mediterranean countries, they were either left where they were or taken to designated carcass dumps.
Notes on other threats to world vulture
|Greater Yellow-headed Vulture|
In the EU, Diclofenac has been authorised in animals since 1993. Currently, the medicine is authorised for use in cattle, pigs and horses in five Member States. Conservation organisations, citizens and politicians have expressed their concerns over the risks that Diclofenac may present to vultures and other necrophagous bird populations in the EU. In September 2014, the European Commission asked EMA to investigate whether the use of Diclofenac in animals presents a risk to vultures and other necrophagous birds in Europe and, if a risk is identified, to provide an opinion on actions or mitigation measures that could be implemented to manage this risk effectively.
Africa's vulture population is in danger from illegal elephant and rhino poachers, a South African conservation group is warning. VulPro says poachers have been poisoning the carcasses to prevent the vultures alerting wardens.
Vulture populations are facing steep declines across Africa due to poisoning and the illegal trade in vulture body parts fuelled by traditional medicine. According to the first comprehensive analysis of African vultures, published in June in Conservation Letters, populations of seven African vulture species have declined by 80 percent or more over the last 30 years.
Vulture species in the Americas are sometimes accused of carrying anthrax or hog cholera, both livestock diseases, on its feet or bill by cattle ranchers and is therefore occasionally perceived as a threat. However, the virus that causes hog cholera is destroyed when it passes through a vulture's digestive tract. The turkey vulture also may be perceived as a threat by farmers due to the similar black vulture's tendency to attack and kill newborn cattle. The turkey vulture does not kill live animals but will mix with flocks of black vultures and will scavenge what they leave behind. Nonetheless, its appearance at a location where a calf has been killed gives the incorrect impression that the turkey vulture represents a danger to calves.