Posted on 31st August 2011 by Media Relations
People often look at me a bit oddly when I say that I love
vultures but I don’t see what’s not to love! Saturday September 3 is International Vulture Awareness day and despite
the fact that Australia doesn’t have any native vultures, Aussies need to be
aware of their importance and their plight in the wild.
Vultures are one of “nature’s recyclers”. By cleaning up carcasses they help to stop
the spread of disease among other species, including humans. Vultures are also significant to many cultures
as well. The ancient Incans of Peru
believed that the sun was carried into the sky on the wings of the Andean
Condor and in other parts of the world other species of vultures play a
part in the funerary rites of some religious groups..
Since the early 1990s populations of three Asian
vulture species have declined catastrophically in India, Pakistan, and Nepal causing
them to be classified as Critically Endangered. In India, due to the vulture
decline, carcasses are likely to take much longer to be stripped, increasing health
risks. Feral dogs are filling the scavenging void, and their growing numbers
also increase risks to human health and safety as they often carry rabies.
we know what’s causing this decline. Recent scientific evidence shows that
diclofenac (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) is a major cause of decling
vulture populations. Vultures are highly susceptible to diclofenac
and if they eat an animal carcass soon after it has been treated with the
normal veterinary dose of the drug. It
is believed vulture populations will only begin to recover if the wild birds
stop being exposed to diclofenac.
Taronga, our resident Andean Condors, Bruce, Connie and Leslie are ambassadors to
their wild cousins. Saturday September 3rd, in honour
of International Vulture Awareness Day, we will be having extra information and
keeper talks at our Condor exhibit over the weekend in order to help raise awareness of this crisis
as well as the importance of these majestic birds.
sure you stop by the Condors and take
some time to appreciate these remarkable birds and be sure not to miss the
12:00 show where Leslie will reveal her spectacular
three-meter wing span as she glides down to stage. After see Leslie in flight, I’m sure you’ll
appreciate these amazing birds as much as I do!
keeper, QBE-Free-Flight Bird Show