Friday, 17 December 2010

Poisoning pushes vulture decline

Vulture populations in a single of Africa's most significant wildlife reserves have declined by 60%, say scientists. house

The researchers advise that the decline of vultures in Kenya's Masai Mara is currently being pushed by poisoning.

The US-based Peregrine Fund says farmers occasionally lace the bodies of lifeless cattle or goats having a toxic pesticide named furadan.

This seems to be aimed at carnivores that destroy the livestock, but a single carcass can poison up to a hundred and fifty vultures.

Munir Virani, who's director from the Peregrine Fund's Africa programmes, has named for use of furadan to be banned in the region "to protect these keystone members from the scavenging community".

"People may possibly think about vultures as unsightly and disgusting, however the birds are vital for your ecosystem," he says.

Their style for carrion really can make them the landscape's clean-up workforce - guaranteeing the region is just not littered with bodies, assisting incorporate the spread of illness and recycling vitamins.

The outcomes of this most up-to-date survey of vultures are published in the journal Biological Conservation.

The terrible effects of a vulture population crash have currently been demonstrated during a circumstance that became often known as the Asian vulture crisis.

Populations of Gyps vultures particularly, in South Asia, crashed by over 95% over just a few years in the 1990s, largely mainly because farmers treated their cattle with the pain-killing drug diclofenac.

The pain-killer, it turned out, was deadly for the vultures, which fed within the lifeless cattle.

Also as driving 3 species of vulture for the brink of extinction, the crisis provided a massive amount of meals for wild dogs, which moved in to get the spot from the birds.

This had the devastating side-effect of raising the spread of rabies. And Dr Virani is worried that an identical situation could occur in Kenya.

The answer in Africa even though, might be a lot more straightforward than in South Asia.

By boosting the general public picture of vultures in the nation, the Peregrine Fund hopes to cease people from carrying out these "revenge poisoning attacks".

Involving 2003 and 2005, Dr Virani and his colleagues drove across the expansive Kenyan landscapes, counting vultures.

He and his colleagues then in contrast the results of those surveys with the final results of surveys carried out in the 1980s. The comparison uncovered a 60% decline in vultures.

Corinne Kendall's perform has taken this survey a step further.

Ms Kendal is really a researcher from Princeton University in the US, that has also been functioning with the Peregrine Fund - monitoring and monitoring the birds to research the extent from the poisoning.

"We connected the GPS trackers like tiny backpacks," she tells BBC Information. "There's a piece that sits on their chest and two loops about every single wing."

"But we had four from sixteen vultures killed in the initial year and 3 of these were confirmed instances of poisoning.

"From a sample of sixteen, it is tricky to find out how consultant that is certainly, but it is extremely worrying."

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