INTERNATIONAL VULTURE AWARENESS DAY
On the first Saturday in September, International Vulture Awareness Day recognizes the dwindling numbers of vultures. The day not only raises awareness about vulture numbers, but it educates the public, too. Vultures play an essential role in the ecological health of the environment.
There are 23 species of vultures in 2 geographic groups. The groups include Old World vultures and New World vultures. Vultures from the Old World come from Asia, Africa, and Europe. New World vultures live in North and South America.
These scavengers play a vital role in the food chain. Vultures act as nature’s garbage disposers. When they devour carcasses quickly, vultures keep the environment clean. They also help keep it free of contagious diseases.
Another role vultures play is aiding in catching poachers. When poachers illegally kill animals, they leave the carcass behind. After vultures find the carcass, they circle above the dead animal. This behavior leads authorities to the poached animals. Because vultures aid authorities, many people kill the birds. After collecting the skins or other prizes, the poachers poison the remaining carcass. Consequently, poisoned vultures then become deadly to other scavengers.
Many species of vultures are considered endangered. Of the 23 species, 16 of them are considered endangered, vulnerable, or threatened. In some parts of the world, the number of vultures has declined by 90 percent. Conservation groups, especially in Asia and Africa, actively educate and advocate to protect the vulture.
HOW TO OBSERVE #VultureAwarenessDay
Conservation groups schedule International Vulture Awareness Day activities. Zoos with vultures host special events. Events and activies may include:
- walking with vultures
- scavenger hunts
- vulture-feeding and flying demonstrations
- conservation discovery stations
- informational speeches
- presentations on the declining numbers of vultures
Get involved. Learn about the challenges these birds are facing. Join in the effort to protect them. Donate to a conservation group, such as The Vulture Conservation Foundation. You can also check with your local zoo and take part in their vulture awareness activities.
As you’re celebrating, be sure to share #VultureAwarenessDay on social media.
INTERNATIONAL VULTURE AWARENESS DAY HISTORY
International Vulture Awareness Day began in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Together, the Birds of Prey Programme in South Africa and the Hawk Conservatory Trust in England created Vulture Awareness Days. On September 5, 2009, the first International Vulture Awareness Day was observed.
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