Just last year during the Christmas break in December, I went out for bird atlassing in a fresh pentad. I suddenly came across more than forty hooded vultures at a dump site for poultry waste at a boundary of two local government areas (Mangu and Barkinladi). The site was more in to Barkinladi in Plateau state, Nigeria.
The vultures were foraging on some death chicken thrown in the poultry waste. I was so happy and almost jumped with elation at such a serendipity. I focused on them with my pairs of 8 * 42 binoculars. Most of the vultures were adults and only few juveniles were in sight. I then thought on why there were only few juveniles. That was a question that called for a research. Before that day, I had never came across up to five vultures in a place except during my childhood.
The sudden disappearance of vultures from human communities, actually indicate a lot of things which are wrong with our environment and possibly, our behaviour. I focally observed the vultures for an hour and I was so glad as I noticed some foraging behaviour, vigilance and even courtship among them. My love for vultures increased even as a lot of questions about them were beckoning my heart into researching about them. I needed to know how distributed they were in Plateau state. What was there abundance? And what threats affect them? Where was there roosting sites? These questions were what I thought I needed to answer. I left the place happy with my mind already made up to push forward with the research on the vultures. I actually carried a research on them this year. In my next write-up, I will brief you about my findings in a little more detail than what I wrote yesterday. Have a good day!
Vultures in Nigeria and other African countries, are facing serious threats from anthropogenic activities. Dealing in parts of vultures based on traditional beliefs is leading in the cause of the decline in ￼. My recent research across Plateau state, Nigeria, left me with tears at the outcome of the research and my encounter with vulture traders. I came across markets and dealers who display vulture parts at costly prices. What pains me so much, was a juvenile vulture which was captured last year September in the southern part of the state, by a traditional practitioner. He chained the vulture and tied it’s wings, as he fed it once in a day with pieces of meat. The vulture looked pathetic, dejected and abandoned. That was just an instance out of many such instances of vulture persecution. My survey showed that, some people are still eating the vulture meat openly and secretly. We need to protect the already critically endangered species of scavengers. We need them alive that when they are dead in our society. They can safe us so much money, because of their sanitation roles. We should know that, it is our responsibility all to ensure that, these important species of scavengers do not go to extinction in our generation and even many more generations to come. We wouldn’t have defence against our acts if posterity shall question us in future. Be an ambassador in the protection of vultures.
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