After 100 vultures in a South African park died, witch doctors are being blamed for poisoning them so that they can use their body parts in black magic potions.
At least 150 critically endangered vultures were poisoned to death in Botswana and South Africa in two separate events last week. Around 100 were found dead in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The birds’ cause of death was from feeding on a buffalo carcass that was laced with poison.
Now, witch doctors are believed to be behind the killings. As the scavengers ate the buffalo carcass, the poison entered their system, and they died around the buffalo. They also even found a hyena who also died from the poisoning.
Unfortunately, vulture poisoning is not uncommon in southern Africa. They are often targeted by poachers because they draw attention to their illegal poaching activities. Vulture body parts are also common in illegal trade. Their heads, beaks, and other body parts are often sold and turned into ‘potions’, and it is helping drive the species to extinction.
Traditional healers or witch doctors believe that the body parts of vultures can give people clairvoyant abilities and increase their intelligence as well as cure terminal illnesses. The White Backed vultures are red-listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a critically endangered species.
Vultures are some of the most misunderstood members of the animal kingdom. However, the very thing that makes people revile vultures, though, is what makes them so critical to our ecosystems. These important key scavengers help to regulate the animal kingdom and protect humans from disease.
Unfortunately, over the past two decades, the vulture population has dropped by a staggering 40 million birds. Despite this alarming decline, these birds are often ignored in conservation efforts. Given the important role these creatures play in maintaining our ecosystem, it is incredibly important for conservationists and individuals alike to take action for these threatened birds.
This article by Hailey Kanowski was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 21 August 2022. Lead Image Source : EcoPrint/Shutterstock.
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