Six of Africa’s vultures threatened with extinction

vultures-of-africa-extinctionSix of Africa’s 11 vulture species are now at a higher risk of extinction, according to the latest assessment of birds carried out by BirdLife International.

According to BildLife International the continent’s largest and most recognisable birds of prey are facing extinction due to indiscriminate poisonings, where the birds are drawn to poisoned baits, use of vulture body parts in traditional medicine and deliberate targeting by poachers.

“As well as robbing the African skies of one of their most iconic and spectacular groups of birds, the rapid decline of the continent’s vultures has profound consequences for its people as vultures help stop the spread of diseases by cleaning up rotting carcasses,” Julius Arinaitwe, BirdLife International’s Africa Programme Director said on Friday in release.

He however said that there is enough time for conservationists to work with law-makers, government agencies and local people, to make sure there is a future for these magnificent birds.

Vultures and other birds play a critical role in maintaining healthy ecosystems and their decline can have serious effects on other species and the many benefits provided by nature.

The report calls for urgent efforts to be taken to protect these species adding that there existence is important in managing the ecosystem.

Worldwide, 40 more bird species are now classified as having a higher risk of extinction in the 2015 Red List.

Besides the vultures, these include many wading shorebirds, and other iconic species like Helmeted Hornbill, Swift Parrot, Atlantic Puffin, and European Turtle-dove.

Conversely, 23 species of birds have been downgraded to lower threat categories. In some cases, this reflects a better understanding of how they are faring, but some species have undergone remarkable recoveries as a result of conservation action, including Seychelles Warbler and Chatham Petrel.

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