Raising awareness about the plight of vultures


International Vulture Awareness Day occurs on the first Saturday of every September every  and was started by the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Birds of Prey Programme and its partners and associates to promote vulture conservation across the world. This year the event will fall on September 3.

In Gauteng the Endangered Wildlife Trust, BirdLife South Africa and Vulpro NPO will be running an all-day event near Hartbeespoort Dam. The event will include live displays, talks, presentations and a visit to Magaliesberg to see wild vultures feeding. There will also be activities for children.

South Africa is home to nine vulture species, seven of which face the threat of extinction. Vultures are threatened by poisoning, persecution, contactwith power lines, drowning in farm reservoirs in drier parts of the country, shortage of safe food supplies and the loss of suitable habitat. Other threats include the use of vultures in traditional medicine and divination, the capture and illegal trade in live birds, and the increase in the elephant population, which has resulted in a loss of nesting trees.

A successful conservation measure has been the establishment of supplementary feeding sites, also called ‘vulture restaurants’. They provide vultures with a safe and reliable source of food in areas and where large predators no longer occur and where food is scarce.

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