More than 500 endangered vultures die in Botswana

The 537 vultures and two tawny eagles were found dead in one of the country's protected wildlife management areas (WMA) in the eastern Central District.Among the animals killed were 468 white-backed vultures, 28 hooded vultures, 17 white-headed vultures, 14 lappet-faced vultures and 10 cape vultures. All are classified as either endangered or critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List."The poisoning was believed to have been caused by lacing of three poached elephant carcasses with a poisonous chemical which (leads) to significant mortality in vultures and eagles," the government statement on social media said.The scavengers have posed a long-standing problem for illegal poachers, making the birds particularly vulnerable to poisoning, according to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF)."As the birds flock to animal carcasses, they also give away sites of poachers' activities," the foundation said on its website.Botswana's return to elephant hunting won't solve any problems, ex-President saysThough problematic for poachers, the endangered birds are vital to a healthy, functioning ecosystem, according to the AWF. By feeding on decaying animal corpses, vultures play a critical role in keeping the environment clean and minimizing the spread of contagious diseases.The Botswana government recently sparked controversy by moving to lift a ban on elephant hunting, after saying it was concerned byRead More – Source