Birds and People No.23 September 2009

It is somehow ironic that the 5th of September was celebrated as International Vulture Awareness Day throughout the world, and yet here I sit looking at the carcase of a White-backed Vulture poisoned yesterday on the fringes of the Okavango Delta (one of over 50 vultures killed together). This is a bad time of the year for our vultures – August 2007 saw over 50 birds being poisoned in the Hainaveld, October 2008, over 50
in the Xudum Concession and now September this year, over 50 in the Xudum Concession once again. Over 152 organisations in 44 countries recognised International Vulture Awareness Day – an encouraging response considering that it was the first year that the date has been designated for vulture awareness. These figures tell me that vultures are widely appreciated by people throughout the world – what’s the problem here in Botswana? I have a feeling that as usual, we will only come to value these great birds when it is too late. Let’s hope that I am proved wrong. Pete Hancock

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