Wildlife

Earth Report

African vultures headed for extinction

Africa’s vultures are vanishing, according to a report released on Thursday, a situation that could affect human health and livestock since populations of other scavengers such as rats and jackals could rise as a result.

The assessment, carried out by conservation group BirdLife International, found that six of Africa’s 11 vulture species were at risk of extinction.

Deliberate targeting by poachers is one of the reasons as the birds, which circle the sights where they feed, can alert authorities to the carcasses of illegally slain animals.

“Vultures are important. They come in, they clean up and they leave,” said Ross Wanless of BirdLife South Africa.

Vultures also help to stem the spread of disease on the world’s poorest continent by eating carcasses that would otherwise rot.

Other reasons behind the decline of the big birds include indiscriminate poisonings and the popularity of vulture parts for…

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