Thursday, September 8, 2011


Vultures are large birds of prey famously known as the best death twisters back into life as they consume dead animals to earn their living. Each year the first Saturday of September it is an International Vulture’s Awareness Day (IVAD) with the aim of raising awareness on vulture’s conservation. Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST) as ambassadors of birds conservation, are expecting to commemorate the International Vulture’s Awareness Day on 10th September 2011 at Dar Es Salaam Zoo. During the commemoration there will be different activities concerning vultures’ conservation.

There are two distinct groups of vultures – Old World Vultures and New World Vultures. Old World vultures live in Africa, Asia and Europe and the latter New World Vultures prefer the warmer more temperate climate of the Americas. Tanzania is home to 8 vulture species out of which 2 are threatened.
Vultures serve an important function as nature's garbage collectors, helping to keep the environment clean of waste. They are immensely important for removing potentially dangerous, bacteria-ridden carcasses from the environment which may adversely cause rabies and anthrax.
Recently vulture’s status is endangered for so many reasons such as:
•Poisoning through feeding on deliberately poisoned carcasses that are placed out to kill other animals (e.g. dogs)
•Felling of nesting trees especially those with active breeding attempts
•Disturbance and destruction of nests to prevent vultures nesting above agricultural land and dwellings
•Exclusion from feeding sites through disturbance or alternative carcass disposal methods (burial)
•hunting of vultures either for medicinal purposes
•Persecution and power lines
•Loss of habitat
•Drowning and shortage of food in drier countries
•An increase in the illegal trade of live birds
•Consumption of diclofenac drug where by studies showed that the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac causes renal failure and is lethal to vultures when they feed on the carcass of a domestic animal that received a normal veterinary dose shortly before death.

There are several conservation methods that are proposed to conserve the vultures, among them are: Ban diclofenac and promote the safe alternative drug in order to rapidly effect a change on diclofenac use, To increase the level of vulture conservation awareness among general public, to increase the breeding population of vultures in the wild areas, to reintroduced captive bred population of vultures as well as to establish science based information system.

I warmly welcome you all to join WCST in celebrating the International Vulture’s Awareness Day (IVAD) on 10th September 2011, so that you can gain more knowledge on Vultures and hence contribute to their conservation.

Written by;
Gloria Lyimo-YET2011

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