05 September 2009

International Vulture Awareness Day

VultureToday, 5 September 2009, is International Vulture Awareness Day. If you're not aware of the reasons vultures are vital, or not aware of the threats to their survival, check out the site or go to BirdLife International's page about the importance of vultures. Throughout much of Asia, vulture populations have declined catastrophically, largely because of their susceptibility to veterinary use of the drug diclofenac; now, diclofenac residues in livestock carcasses are beginning to decimate vultures in parts of Africa.

This a hooded vulture, Necrosyrtes monachus, next to the carapace of a green turtle on the coast of Ghana in April 2007. The photo first appeared on Pohanginapete in a tongue-in-cheek (the pun is unavoidable) post about the joys of eating offal.

Blog for VulturesUpdates:
1. Charlie, at 10,000 Birds, has posted a wonderfully informative article about what's happening to vultures. Fortunately, as he concludes, it's "not all doom and gloom". Highly recommended.
2. If you think vultures are ugly, you might change your mind after seeing Gwendolen's photo of a Rüppell's griffon vulture.
3. As I've noted above (and Charlie elaborates on), much of the problem arises from veterinary use of diclofenac. Meloxicam appears to be a vulture-safe alternative to diclofenac; however, it's considerably more expensive. Moreover, in Africa vultures are also threatened by off-label use of the extremely toxic pesticide furadan, as well as (you guessed it) habitat destruction.
4. To end the updates on a much lighter note: Corey, also at 10,000 Birds, has collated a handful of wonderful quotations about vultures.

All content (other than the IVAD logo in this post) © 2009 Pete McGregor


AJB said...

Cool project to support and a very nice (is that the right word?) photo.

Zhoen said...

When I first heard of sky funerals, it seemed such a practical idea. And a way to pay back into the system. That the vultures wouldn't even be around to benefit is very sad.

I like bats, too.

Kalibhakta said...

that is a gorgeous photo... thank you.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pete,
Thanks for the heads up and links. Great photo. They are really beautiful in their own way. Ol' Ed Abbey went out the right way, lain in his beautiful desert and a meal for the vultures. Have a great weekend Pete.

Katy said...

Indeed a stunning photo Pete!
I love Vultures they are beautiful and very powerful birds.
Strong enough to survive all kinds of harsh environment.
Again humans are causing the trouble here.....
Thanx for sharing this with us.

gwendolen said...

Fantastic photo Pete!

pohanginapete said...

Andrew, "nice" will do :^)

Zhoen, I agree. Maybe we should start an International Sky Burial Awareness Day?

Kalibhakta, thanks. I'd go out and hug a vulture if we had them here in Aotearoa ;^)

Robb, aha! Another sky burial fan. We might have something underway here ;^)

Katy, thanks. It's good to know there are lots of people who don't think of vultures in the stereotypical way, but instead as wonderful, vital and beautiful.

Gwendolen, that photo of yours is outstanding. I've updated my post with a link to yours; I tried to leave a comment but it disappeared somewhere in a convoluted authorisation process.

JMV said...

Nice blog with amazing photos.

pohanginapete said...

Thank you, JMV :^)

John said...

Great photo. It must take some clever digging to get the innards out of a turtle (without breaking it, anyway).

pohanginapete said...

Thanks John. Sadly, the turtle had already been dismembered by the local humans. There are strong efforts being made to provide incentives not to kill turtles, but it still happens.

Amy said...

Wow, awesome photo! Happy IVAD09!

gwendolen said...

Thanks for linking to my photo, Pete. I found your comment. :)

pohanginapete said...

Thanks Amy!

Gwendolen, glad to hear it got through :^)