Video: Africa’s vultures are sliding towards extinction

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Six of Africa’s 11 species – the continent’s largest and most recognisable birds of prey – are now at a higher risk of extinction, according to the latest assessment of birds carried out by BirdLife International for the of Threatened Species™.

The main causes of the drop in African vulture populations are thought to be indiscriminate poisonings, where the birds are drawn to poisoned baits, use of vulture body parts in traditional medicine, and deliberate targeting by poachers, as the presence of vultures can alert authorities to illegally killed big game carcasses.

Listed as least concern the bearded vulture is undergoing quite a significant population decline over its entire range of which Africa and Asia are seeing some of the highest declines.

Dr Julius Arinaitwe, BirdLife International’s Africa Programme Director, said:

“As well as robbing the African skies of one of their most iconic and spectacular groups of birds, the rapid decline of the continent’s vultures has profound consequences for its people – as vultures help stop the spread of diseases by cleaning up rotting carcasses.”

“However, now we are becoming aware of the sheer scale of the declines involved, there is still just enough time for conservationists to work with law-makers, faith-based organisations, government agencies and local people, to make sure there is a future for these magnificent scavengers.”

We’re not just going to sit around and watch vultures fall out of the sky.

BirdLife Partners recently came together to take action for African vultures – making a commitment to save ‘Nature’s clean-up crew’.

Patricia Zurita (BirdLife’s Chief Executive) with Bradnee Chambers (Executive Secretary of the UNEP Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS)) recently made a commitment to ensure that the plight of these essential creatures is made known to a global audience.

It is high-time the world fully-appreciated the severity of this problem-for not only the birds themselves, but the health of the people of the continent.

Today, BirdLife launches a campaign to save Africa’s vultures:

“Vultures and other birds play a critical role in maintaining healthy ecosystems,” said Simon Stuart, Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. “Their decline can have serious knock-on effects on other species and the many benefits provided by nature.

While it is encouraging to see some positive outcomes of conservation action, this update is an important wake-up call, showing that urgent efforts need to be taken to protect these species.”

This article was first published by BirdLife International on 29 Oct 2015. Please leave any suggestions or comments you may have at the bottom of this page.

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Karen Lyons Kalmenson


to the vulture a
terrible fate has
been assigned.
this magnificent bird
misunderstood and
this carrion eater
has a huge job
to do,
cleaning up after
all the mes and the
but man has the most
ignoble distinction
of almost poisoning
this great bird
into extinction.
in this"master plan"
he has allowed disease
to flourish and spread.
when vultures could
be tidying up this
soup instead.
so please everybody
before it is too late,
stand up for these
beautiful birds…
and advocate!

Kashmir World FDN

thanks for sharing FocusingOnWildlife, have a great Sunday 🙂 (insight by

Sachin Sehrawat

What a wonderful and thoughtful drive to save Mother Earth and her Children. I wanted to know how can I as an individual contribute and join this drive "in person, be there physically" and become an active field worker??

Simon Tucker

How many of these illegal poison substances are banned pesticides being sold into African countries illegally by American and European manufacturers with stockpiles of these substances they want to get rid of but cannot sell legally?

Ken Billington

Please follow the link at the bottom of the article:

Anne Grice

Unacceptanble man made destruction leading to extinction! Humans have nothing to be proud of, and this is progress!

Shanti Swati

Alarming update indeed! But, now that the matter is so urgent and desperate , i have a question that how do you propose to involve those people who despite not being activists, politicians or possesing any powers , in active participation of accomplishing this mission …because it's highly frustating to read everyday about the nearing extinction of this planet and not getting a decent oppertunity to become involved in your wildlife projects. It's a lost feeling!!! Please spread chances 'to be able to help' and not just information, else the wake-up call will go to waste.We don't just want to… Read more »