Cape Vulture eating from a bowl

Why Are Vultures So Important?

What would happen to the world if vultures went extinct?

The short answer – Chaos.

Vultures play an invaluable part within our fragile ecosystem. They are one of the world’s most efficient clean-up crews.

Their value has been widely underestimated and is largely unappreciated.

The disastrous decline of vulture populations in Africa and Asia has caused alarm. It is feared the devastating loss will lead to the spread of deadly old and new diseases, including plague, anthrax, and rabies.

In reality, vultures serve us in ways that we are just beginning to understand. One being their remarkable hand in keeping ecosystems and pathogens in check.

A real-life example of this is India, where vultures had been driven to the brink of extinction. It ranked as one of the worst wildlife die-offs in history, caused by humans.
The rapid decline in the vulture population directly impacted the well-being of the country’s human population. It led to the spread of zoonotic diseases and an increased incidence of rabies.

It is said that between the years of 1993 and 2006, this massive vulture loss caused not only major economic losses, but the deaths of around 50 000 humans.

Another major threat is malicious poisoning.

Vultures are poisoned and hacked to pieces for traditional medicine and trade. They are stolen from their environment and traded as if they are dispensable.

In the most rural areas of South Africa, a large proportion of the humans are reliant on nature to provide most of their basic needs. Due to their heavy dependence on nature, local communities benefit hugely from the role of Vultures to protect them.
Agriculture and Wildlife Reserves also benefit from the vulture clean-up crew.

If you come across an injured vulture, please don’t kill it. Phone a veterinary clinic, phone the Endangered Wildlife Trust or phone park rangers or Nature Conservation. And if you cannot help them, at least don’t harm them.

These birds are too valuable to lose to human greed and misinformation.

Want to know more about vultures?
Check out these fantastic websites:

Cape Vulture eating from a bowl
Cape vulture eating from bowl

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