Last weekend this blog sprung back into life, and as many of you will have noticed, mostly with vultures. The main reason was they were photographs I had to hand, but I’ve realised that part of me was also trying to convince you to love vultures as much as I do! It is not just because they are amazing birds with great personalities. I need you to love them so you might consider helping them. Vultures are now the most threatened group of birds in the world, with over 70% endangered.
Up until a couple of years ago they were dying in their tens of millions in south Asia because of the widespread use of a veterinary drug. Fortunately it has now been banned, but it is going to take decades for those vulture populations to recover. In the meanwhile a second crisis has erupted on the African continent. Here though it is even worse they are deliberately being killed. And as in south Asia the significant decline in vulture populations is having a devastating ecological impact. This short video explains more.
The poisoning is being undertaken by ivory poachers because they want to stop vultures from circling overhead when they kill elephants. Lots of vultures circling,a classic behaviour when they spot a carcass, has become one of the best signals for rangers and conservationists that there are possibly poachers in action in the area.
It is a direct consequence of the poachers actions that six of Africa’s eleven species of vulture to critically endangered. Action is urgent. So what can you do to help. Well if you live or are staying near Andover in Hampshire consider visiting, or even better joining, the Hawk Conservancy Trust, who are one of the leading UK organisations in the fight to save vultures. Not only will you help them in their work overseas, you will have a fabulous time!
And if you are further afield then you can still help. Please consider donating £5 or more to the ‘Poison Response Action Campaign‘. This campaign aims to train and equip field staff in Africa to neutralise poisoned carcasses and reduce poison-related mortalities, and the research shows it makes a huge difference. I do hope YOU can help, even if it just to tell a friend and spread the word.