Wherever you find a kill in Africa, you will find the vultures circling overhead. They have a very keen sense of smell and can smell a dead animal from more than a mile away.

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.


2 Replies to “Vultures”

  1. They should transition into politics; it appears a fertile ground for vultures flourishing.

    I see a lot of vultures here in Illinois (and I saw many in Colorado). More than I would imagine the environment could support, but they must find enough to eat. Perhaps roadkill helps support their numbers.

  2. Great captures and good info. We very much need vultures, sad that their numbers are declining in many parts of the world.

    The Black and Turkey Vultures we have in SC are excellent flyers along with their clean up skills. I love to see them gliding and turning.

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