Vultures play a vital ecological role, maintaining the delicate balance of the ecosystem by scavenging on rotting carcasses and effectively cleaning up the environment. Without the support that vultures provide, carcasses are left to rot, allowing disease to spread among other animals, ultimately affecting local human populations with an increase in diseases such as rabies.
Our partner Gauntlet Bird of Prey visit India and Africa each year to help support the conservation teams with aviary design advice and research and breeding support. The aim is to conserve a viable population of White Backed Vultures with the long term aim of breeding healthy captive vultures for future release back into the wild.
At the current rate of decline, vultures may be extinct in the wild in the next 10 years. The more people understand about the overall impact of the decline of the vulture in the wild, the greatest chance these birds have for survival. We are raising awareness among our guests through our “Vulture Breakfasts” at our Bird of Prey centre. Check our What's On timetable to make sure you don’t miss it when you visit!
Experts believe that within the last 10 years, the number of vultures soaring the planes of India has declined by 95%, due to the introduction of the anti-inflammatory drug Diclofenac, which is used in cattle. Vultures feeding on the dead cattle treated with the drug, suffer fatal side effects such as gout and kidney failure.
Similarly, the widespread, and mostly illegal use of poison is decimating Africa’s vulture population. As the ‘early warning sign’ of a fresh carcass, poachers are deliberately lacing rhino carcasses with arsenic to avoid early detection from anti-poaching units.