Jan 17, 2019
Throughout history and literature few species have been as unfairly disparaged and misunderstood as vultures. Despite serving as Nature's "garbage disposal," capable of digesting harmful bacteria that would kill most other animals, the vulture has long been viewed with fear or scorn. Today, this important group of long-lived and slowly reproducing species is under threat of extinction not as a direct target of human activities but as an indirect and innocent participant in the very scavenging behaviors it evolved to do--behaviors necessary to maintain healthy ecosystems.
Zoo Logic guest Michael Mace from San Diego Zoo Global (SDZG), the organization behind the famous Southern California zoo and safari parks, dispels some of the myths about vultures, describes their importance to human health, and explains the deadly threats from poachers, farmers, and ranchers (albeit for different reasons) through the same mechanism, mass poisonings. Fortunately, organizations like SDZG and others are working in the field to increase public education and to train communities how to prevent more vulture population losses and to care for animals suffering from poisonings.