The most expensive birds in the world!
|Bearded Vulture - Photo credit; Shane Elliot|
In an African context or any context that matters, when you are known to be vicious, greedy and appalling you don’t and you shouldn’t be ranked for a pity party. And We Vultures aren’t asking for one. We are "Natures-cleaning crew", I bet you didn't know that! Why should you while it’s easier to join the chorus of those besmirching our reputation rather than bother to understand us. Maybe because we don’t make it into the wild celebrity list. But that has never been our priority since our work is self-evident. We are 23 species in the world. Sadly, 8 species are critically endangered. Trust me, it worries me too. 3 species are endangered, another 3 species are near threatened and only 2 species are relatively safe- for now anyway. Still wondering what that means? In my view they need more care, to avert predictable crisis.
Our declining population status is a result of barbaric activities. Humans, what did we ever do to you? First, some of you poison us, deliberate or not it is ridiculous. Those of you using Diclofenac try Meloxicam it is a better alternative to the best of my knowledge. To notorious poachers in Africa FYI we don’t have an MOU with rangers to sell you out, stop poisoning our food, our lives depends on it. Period!
Another malicious cartel is busy killing and trading our body parts from South Africa to West Africa to fetish markets. Who even came up with that? You will lose in those bets and your wishes will be just that! And to think some of you thought we were ugly! As if that is not enough, another notorious crew I fail to understand leaves live wires exposed just because they are beyond human reach? Who does that? Electrocution and collision is horrifying. Cover your wires. To eggs and chick thieves, watch out! We might resort to clawing your eyes out next time. Mind your own darned business.
|A Ruppell's vulture landing- Photo credit Austin Thomas 2010|
Well, the ecosystem needs our cleaning services! And we are irreplaceable, you don’t believe me!! Okay, let’s talk statistics (Yeah, we know about that too). We clean a carcass in an hour. That means we halt the spread of zoonotic diseases (Rabies, Anthrax, Botulism etc.) We save you the expense of disposing the carcass and the costs to contain diseases. Case in point, in India where most us lost our lives drastically, feral dogs increased rapidly, and so did rabies, it spread to almost 30,000 humans, they used $34 million to try and contain it. We are actually full filling our purpose on earth, and you can barely afford us. One of us is worth an estimated $11,000 US Dollars. Think of that next time you want to refer to my kind as vicious!
Ultimately, as this is overwhelming. I believe what we expect of you isn’t rocket science. Your kind will be of great help if you stop the manufacture, and sale of poisons. It won't you cost you as much as losing us. Secondly, prosecute the culprits in illegal killing and trade this way you can protect us and our breeding sites for posterity. On energy infrastructure make them 'vulture-friendly' and while at it modify the existing unsafe ones. Lastly, and most importantly please support research and outreach activities and help us build our populations back. Vultures can do better with you as our friend.
We can all enjoy the little time we have on earth!!