Vultures play a key role in disease control and waste removal. African vultures have declined dramatically in recent years, mostly due to poisoning. Prior to 2013, no systematic surveys had been done on vultures in southern Tanzania, but preliminary surveys conducted by our research team demonstrate that southern Tanzania possesses healthy vulture populations. Given the high level of threats and near extirpation of these species elsewhere in Africa, this region represents the best hope for the long-term survival of these important scavengers. To ensure successful conservation of vultures in this area, this program will have two key components: ranger-based data collection and tracking of individual birds via satellite telemetry. Tanzanian National Park staff will be trained in survey methods as part of the establishment of a long-term vulture population monitoring program. Studying vulture movement patterns in this region will also be crucial for understanding population needs and evaluating threats. Because ecology and conservation needs of vultures overlap closely with other species, information derived from tagging several individuals of two African vulture species will inform on-going monitoring and conservation efforts not just for vultures, but for carnivores and elephants as well.
Dr. Corinne Kendall is the Associate Curator of Conservation and Research, North Carolina Zoological Park. Her research has provided key evidence to support the up-listing of three vulture species from Least Concern to Endangered by the IUCN Red List and has informed ongoing conservation and vulture monitoring efforts in Kenya. Dr. Claire Bracebridge, Technical Advisor, Ruaha-Katavi Landscape Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, has been working in Tanzania since 2002 as a field ecologist with a focus on prioritizing important and protected habitats and associated species through research to inform strategic conservation management activities.
What you can do?
Watch for wildlife in your backyard: If you find injured or orphaned (be sure it's orphaned before moving it) wildlife please contact a wildlife rescue organisation or Taronga Wildlife Hospital.