Vultures are often associated with ugliness and death. This brings us to refer to someone as a vulture when we consider this person very negative, someone that takes advantage of others’ weaknesses. Horrible, isn’t it?
Today I am trying to rehabilitate these rapacious birds. I admit they have a somehow disturbing physical appearance and that they are always present when there is a carcass in sight: this is the reason why they are considered among the best scavengers of the savannah. They sniff it from far away, they can sniff death itself before it arrives. They are also helped by a tremendous eyesight. Amazing! And terrifying!
They often move in flocks in search of food: they find it flying over the savannah and swooping down when they catch sight of it.
What is not commonly known, though, is that vultures are also chased from poachers and right now their population is endangered in many parts of the continent.
How is this possible? You have to know that a female vulture lays only one egg each year. Not too much. It nests its egg in trees, tall trees, especially acacias. For this reason the illegal sale and the killing of vultures is very dangerous.
And why poachers are interested in vultures? I think there are many reasons among which the fact that vultures reveal their position. Poachers are really nasty people and they take everything they can, poisoning these birds to reach their purposes. Fortunately, Tanzania is very concerned in preservation of all the species and in fighting poaching with much commitment.
There are different kinds of vultures in East Africa and in Tanzania in particular. I had the opportunity of asking Zacharia, our guide while visiting Selous Game Reserve. He told us about this and he also explained how important are scavengers in the savannah. Their work is irreplaceable. Listen to it directly from his voice.