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National Vulture Awareness Day – 5 September 2009

Lunes 21 de septiembre de 2009, por Cocn_Tarifa

National Vulture Awareness Day – 5 September 2009

National Vulture Awareness Day aims to create awareness of the plight of southern Africa’s vultures and to highlight the conservation work being done to protect these birds and their habitats. This year the Day will be celebrated on Saturday 5 September.

“The success of our Vulture Awareness Day over the past three years has created international interest, and organisations involved in vulture conservation worldwide have now established an International Vulture Awareness Day, which will be commemorated on the first Saturday of September every year,” says Andre Botha, manager of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Birds of Prey Working Group (EWT-BoPWG). “The Birds of Prey Working Group and its partners and associates, which include the provincial conservation bodies and several other NGOs, will however continue to drive the day’s activities in southern Africa,” says Botha.

EWT-BoPWG field staff are arranging vulture counts at colonies and feeding sites across South Africa, with the help of volunteers and landowners interested in helping with the conservation of vultures in their areas. There will also be several events countrywide where members of the public can participate in live displays and other fun activities.

South Africa is home to no less than nine vulture species. Seven of these face a threat of extinction. The Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is one of only two bird species already listed as Regionally Extinct in South Africa. The Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), whose range in southern Africa is restricted to the Maluti-Drakensberg mountains in South Africa and Lesotho is classified as Endangered and continues to decline in numbers. The Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres) only occurs within southern Africa and its conservation remains one of the EWT-BoPWG’s main focal areas. Other species, such as the Lappet-faced (Torgos tracheliotus), Hooded (Necrosyrtes monachus), White-headed (Trigonoceps occipitalis) and African White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) mostly occur only in large conservation areas and are listed as Vulnerable.

The threats facing vultures include poisoning, persecution, electrocution on and collision with power lines, drowning in farm reservoirs, a shortage of safe food sources and loss of suitable habitat. Research shows that these birds are highly mobile and can cover up to 100 km in a day in search of food. This makes the implementation of effective conservation measures difficult.

There is also strong evidence to suggest that vultures are among the animals most threatened by the trade in traditional medicine. This appears to be partly responsible for the current rapid decline of vulture populations on the subcontinent. Poachers use strong poisons to kill the birds and then sell them on to the large urban muthi markets around the country. Consumers who unknowingly buy parts of these poisoned birds, risk death or at best serious illness.

One of the best-known conservation measures to have benefited vultures is the establishment of a wide network of supplementary feeding sites, known as vulture restaurants. These provide a safe and reliable source of food in areas where large predators no longer occur and where modern livestock farming methods have severely reduced the food available to vultures. Well run vulture restaurants have also developed into popular tourist attractions.

A threat to vulture restaurants is the use of carcasses containing potentially lethal veterinary medicines, tranquilising drugs and lead fragments from bullets. The use of diclofenac in Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) on cattle in Asia has been identified as the major, if not the only, cause for the collapse of populations of the Oriental Whitebacked, Slender-billed and Long-billed Vultures in India and Pakistan. Concerns that other veterinary drugs in use locally could have the same effect on South African vulture populations, and the Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty of the University of Pretoria, in association with the Rhino & Lion NPO, have initiated research to determine which substances could be potentially harmful to these birds. As information on potentially harmful substances become available, it is disseminated via various communication channels to ensure that any impacts are minimised and that the managers of feeding sites do not provide vultures with food that could be lethal.

Information about the 67 global partner organisations and the activities that they will be involved in International Vulture Awareness Day on 5 September 2009 is available at and For information on South African activities on National Vulture Awareness Day, contact the EWT-BoPWG directly on +27 (0)11 646-4629 or The EWT-BoPWG can also be contacted about any other issues related to the conservation and monitoring of vultures.

Vultures are an ecologically vital group of birds that face a range of threats in many areas that they occur. Populations of many species are under pressure and some species are facing extinction.

The International Vulture Awareness Day has grown from Vulture Awareness Days run by the Birds of Prey Working Group in South Africa and the Hawk Conservancy Trust in England, who decided to work together and expand the initiative into an international event.

It is now recognised that a co—ordinated international day will publicise the conservation of vultures to a wider audience and highlight the important work being carried out by the world’s vulture conservationists.

On September 5th 2009, the aim is for each participating organisation to carry out their own activities that highlight vulture conservation and awareness. This website, established in July 2009, provides a central place for all participants to outline these activities and see the extent of vulture conservation across the world

Additionally this webpage is a valuable resource for vulture workers to learn about the activities of their colleagues and to perhaps develop new collaborations or exchange information.

But you don’t have to be a zoo, bird park or conservation organisation to become involved. Our Awareness Day Virtual Event is open to everyone. Take a look at how you can become involved.

Organisations who will be participating in 2009 Accipiter Enterprises, Educational Birds of Prey, United States Africam Safari Zoo, Mexico African Bird of Prey Sanctuary, South Africa African Raptor Expedition, Kenya Albuquerque Biological Park, United States American Falconry Conservancy, United States Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity, Cambodia Association of Zoos and Aquariums Raptor Taxon Advisory Group, United States Österreichischer Falknerbund / Austrian Falconry Association, Austria Balkan Vulture Action Plan, Banham Zoo, United Kingdom Belgian Federation for Falconry "", Belgium Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park, United States Bird Conservation Nepal, Nepal Bird conservation society-gujrat-vulturecell, India Bird Explorers, Thailand BirdLife Africa Partnership Secretariat, BirdLife South Africa, South Africa Birds Bangladesh, Bangladesh Birds of Prey Protecrion Fund, Serbia Birds of Prey Working Group, Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa Birds@Work, Netherlands Birdwing (BirdWatching In Northern Greece), Greece Black Vulture Conservation Foundation, Spain Bronx Zoo, United States Brookgreen Gardens, United States Bulgarian Association for Conservation of Birds of Prey, Bulgaria Bulgarian Association for Conservation of Birds of Prey - The Falconers’ Association, Bulgaria Busch Gardens Tampa, United States Callaway Gardens Birds of Prey Program, United States Cambodia Vulture Conservation Project, Cambodia Cango Wildlife Ranch, South Africa Cape Falconry Club, South Africa Carolina Raptor Center, United States Centre for Natural Resource Management & Research, Bangladesh cetreros de mexico., Mexico Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, United States Colectivo Ornitológico Cigüeña Negra, Spain Conservation Biology & Climate Change Research Unit, Bangladesh Conservation Halton, Canada Consultnature, Tanzania: United Republic of Cornell Lab of Ornithology, United States Cosley Zoo, United States Cotswold Falconry Centre, United Kingdom Department of Zoology,University of Lucknow, India, India Deutscher Falkenorden e.V., Germany Dhartee Development Society (DDS), Pakistan Disney’s Animal Kingdom, United States Eaglewatch, Netherlands Eco-Zoo de Borce, France Ecology Lab., Dept. of Zoology, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi-6205, Bangladesh, Bangladesh Edinburgh Zoo, United Kingdom Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, Egypt El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Mexico Elite Falconry Belgium, Belgium Falconry Uk Birds of Prey Centre, United Kingdom Federation "BURKUTSHI", Kazakhstan Flamingo Nature Club, Mahuva, Gujarat, India Free State Falconry Club, South Africa FRIDERICUS REX MALTA FALCONERS, Malta Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna (FWFF), Bulgaria Fund " JOLCHORO ", Kyrgyzstan Fundación Bioandina Argentina, Argentina Fundación Gypaetus, Spain FWFF-Macedonia, Macedonia: the former Yugoslav Republic of Gauntlet Birds of Prey Eagle and Vulture Park, United Kingdom GlobalBirdTrekkers, South Africa GRAND PARC DU PUY DU FOU, France Great Lakes Falconers Association, United States Gujarat Nature Conservation Foundation, India Harvey’s Knob Hawkwatch, United States Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History, United States Himalayan Nature, Nepal Himalayan Nature, Nepal Hungarian Falconers Club, Hungary International Association for Falconry and the Conservation of Birds of Prey, Belgium International Centre for Birds of Prey, United Kingdom Israel Nature & Parks Authority, Israel Israeli Ornothological Center, The International Center for the Study of Bird Migration, Society for, Israel Italian Federation Falconry, Italy JARAK - Association for Protection and Conservation of Birds of Prey, Macedonia: the former Yugoslav Republic of KACHCHH NATURE CLUB, India Khandesh Nature Conservation Society, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India Krantishing Nanapatil College Of Veterinary Science, India KuzeyDoga Society, Turkey Lakhota Nature Club, Jamnagar, India Limpopo Falconry Club, South Africa Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park, United States Lory Park Zoo, South Africa mahesh trivedi, India Mahseer Conservancy, India Ministry of Environment’s Pakistan Wetlands Programme, Pakistan Mpumalanga Falconry Club, South Africa Munda Wanga Trust, Zambia MUSEO ORNITOLOGICO "ANGELO FABRIS", Italy Natal falconry Club, South Africa National Association for Welfare of Animals and Research (NAWAR), India National College, India National Falconers Club of Turkmenistan, Turkmenistan NATURE CLUB SURAT ENVIRONMENT EDUCATION & RESEARCH CENTRE, India New Canaan Nature Center, United States NEYVELI LIGINITE CORPORATION, India Nirmal Foundation frd, India NUEVO COLEGIO CONTINENTAL AMERICANO S.C., Mexico Olympic Vulture Study, United States Palm Beach Zoo, United States Paradise Park Cornwall, United Kingdom Prakruti Jatan Parivar, Bhanvad, India Rajputana Society of Natural History, India Raptor Education Foundation, United States Raptor Working Group, Kenya Refugio de las Hoces del Riaza Fund, Spain Research-Educational Centre for the Protection of Nature, Croatia Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, United Kingdom Sacred Heritage Travel, United States San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, United States Santa Barbara Zoo, United States Shaman, United States Slovenska zveza za sokolarstvo in zaščito ptic ujed, Slovenia Society for Wild Animals "Falcon", Poland South African Falconry Association, South Africa South Lakes Wild Animal Park, United Kingdom St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, United States Staten Island Zoo, United States Studiegroep Behoud Valkerij(vzw), Belgium Sunset Zoological Park, United States Swaziland Vulture Monitoring Programe, Swaziland Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, United States Taronga Zoo, Australia The Birdman, United States The Center for Birds of Prey, United States The Falconry Centre, United Kingdom The Hawk Conservancy Trust, United Kingdom The Himalayan Times National daily, Nepal The Peregrine Fund, United States The Raptor Foundation, United Kingdom Transvaal Falconry Club, South Africa Valkerij Ardanwen, Belgium Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, United States Vulcha Helpas, South Africa Vulture Conservation Foundation, Netherlands Vulture Programme, South Africa Vulture Research and Conservation Programme of Bangladesh with five partners, Bangladesh Vulture Study Group - Namibia, Namibia Wetheriggs Animal Rescue & Conservation Centre, United Kingdom Wildlife Conservation and Study Centre, India Wildlife Conservation Foundation, India Wildlife Conservation Society, United States Wildlife Fund B.T., Belgium Wildlife Rehabilitation and Breeding Centre - Green Balkans, Bulgaria Wildlife science and conservation center of Mongolia, Mongolia Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA, United States World Bird Sanctuary, United States WWF - Pakistan, Pakistan Zambian Ornithological Society (ZOS), Zambia Zoo News Digest, Thailand Zoological garden Ostrava, Czech Republic Zoological Society of London, United Kingdom Zoologická zahrada Liberec, Czech Republic





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