International Vultures Awareness Day

International Vultures Awareness Day

#Taronga Zoo Sydney

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!

- Grey



keeper, QBE-Free-Flight Bird Show