Most people have the misconception that vultures are dirty. The opposite is true. In reality they are very hygienic, caring parents, and are quite shy. When you see them soaring overhead they are actually quite majestic.
Vultures play a vital role in clearing away carcasses and preventing the spread of diseases like anthrax, rabies, tuberculosis and botulism. They are essential for our health. Without vultures, these diseases contaminate water sources, creating a knock-on effect that threatens both ours and wildlife lives.
In Africa, the vultures are critically endangered. I found these statistics in an article about vultures:
- In just 30 years vulture numbers in West Africa have declined by 95% outside protected areas.
- Over the same period more than half of the vulture population in Kenya’s Masai Mara have gone.
- Today 75% of old-world vultures are slipping toward extinction.
- Hooded Vultures, traditionally widespread living alongside humans, have declined by 62% across Africa since the nineties, and much more rapidly in some areas.
- Only about 100 pairs of Bearded Vultures are left in South Africa having reduced from about 200 pairs 20-30 years ago.
- 52% decline over a 30 year period in Gyps vulture numbers in the Masai Mara ecosystem, the most important area for vultures in East Africa.
- Together, threats from poisoning and trade in traditional medicines account for 90% of reported vulture deaths in Africa.
In the future, I will be looking at vultures in a much different light.