Across Africa vulture populations are in freefall, since a groundbreaking study in 2015 highlighted the extent of the crisis, the numbers of vultures continue to collapse. As part of our participation in the Champions of the Flyway 24 hour birding race in southern Israel, we are helping raise awareness of the plight of Africa’s vultures with our #GoVultures campaign and need your help.
Since launching our video campaign people have been sending us their #GoVultures from all across the world. Today we launch the second of our video compilations as we ask you to keep the videos coming in ahead of the race on 26 March.
You can still get involved in two ways:
We want to bring people from all across the world to share on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatever social media you use, their enthusiasm for vultures! To be part of the #GoVultures, all we need you to do is create a short video and post it on whatever social media you use, using the hashtags #GoVultures and #COTF19 saying
“Go Vultures from……. [insert country] “.
Be creative, be imaginative, be bold, be brave, be original. We are currently thinking on prizes for the best entries. Alternatively you can send us your video by sending it by email to our Communications Officer Dean Veall firstname.lastname@example.org
Please use the Team VCF JustGiving page or Donate via the Vulture Conservation Foundation Paypal account by clicking the donate button below.
Vultures in crisis
Across Africa there are 11 vulture species: six of which are found only on the continent, whilst the rest occur elsewhere in Eurasia. Vultures are being electrocuted by power lines or crushed by wind turbines, their body parts used in traditional medicine and are killed by eating pesticide-laced carcasses intended for lions and other predators.
Since the 1980s the vulture numbers have dropped 62 percent during, with the decline much larger, in West Africa have declined by 95 percent outside protected areas and over 50 percent of vultures species of the genus Gyps have disappeared from one of the most important vulture ecosystems in East Africa, in the Masai Mara. Seven of these vultures are on the edge of extinction - all but the Bearded Vultures – have declined by more than 80 percent. The worst off are the White-Headed and Rüppell's Vultures, which have declined by 96 and 97 percent, respectively.
Rapid urbanisation in parts of Africa has displaced vultures from their habitat. A massive growth in wind farms across the continent is also a concern—the birds often collide with the turbines.
As the poaching of elephants for the ivory trade has intensified vultures also die after feeding on carcasses left behind by poachers. To cover their crimes illegal hunters poison the corpses to throw off law enforcement, which use circling vultures as a beacon for illegal activity.
Poisoning events across East Africa over the last five years (c) BirdLife International
Scenes such as these have become increasingly common over the last five years.
A race for Vultures
This year, the Champions of the Flyway has partnered with Birdlife Kenya to raise funds and awareness for vulture conservation in the Great Rift Valley, helping to protect and save the vultures of the East Africa. And we need your help to succeed! We will be partnering with BirdLife Kenya to engage in a large scale project that will include funding a special Rapid Response team on the ground to identify carcasses and treat them, before their effects unwittingly spread to vultures, nature’s original garbage disposal experts. We will also be funding the development of several educational programs with the local people of the Mara area and Narok province in Kenya, aiming to leave a lasting legacy for the Rift Valley’s vulture conservation. In 2018 the Champions of the Flyway raised over $100,000 Can YOU help us match that?
Champions of the Flyway
Running since 2014 The Champions of the Flyway is an annual real-time bird spotting race, organised by BirdLife partner, The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), as part of the Eilat Bird Festival. The race pitches small teams of world class birdwatchers against each other in a ‘race’ to spot the highest number of birds within a 24 hour period. The race takes place at the end of March during the annual spring migration at Eilat in Israel at the southern tip of the Red Sea where migratory birds stopover to and from their northern breeding grounds. The Eilat Mountains create a natural bottleneck for millions birds with nearly two hundred species including two dozen species of raptors including the migratory Egyptian Vulture, waders and passerines migrating northwards creating one of nature’s most spectacular sights.