A call to save Africa’s vulture populations from extinction

23 April 2012 | News story

A Pan-African Vulture Summit has urged governments to conserve and reduce threats to vultures across the continent. The Summit resolved to respectfully urge the governments of countries in Africa, and particularly the national custodians of wildlife in these countries to, among other things, ensure appropriate levels of protection and management for vultures and their breeding sites. Governments have also been called upon to legislate and enforce stringent measures to prosecute and impose harsh penalties on perpetrators of poisoning and those illegally trading in vultures and/or their body parts.

Speaking at the Summit, IUCN Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Ali Kaka pointed the need to ensure that equal emphasis is placed on creating awareness among policy and decision makers, and general public on the importance of the species to our wellbeing. He noted that this will be vital in mobilizing support outside the conservation fraternity.

The Vulture Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, working with the Birds of Prey Programme of the Endangered Wildlife Trust and The Peregrine Fund and their partners in the African Raptor Network, aimed to assess the population status of all African vulture species. They also set out to identify and initiate the implementation of appropriate conservation interventions and actions to attempt to effectively address the key threats to these birds from a continental perspective. This initiative was generously sponsored by the US Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife without Borders Programme and Sasol Limited.

To achieve this, a Pan African Vulture Summit was convened in the Masai Mara, Kenya with the support of the Masai Mara Authorities on April 16-20, 2012 and invited input from a wide range of vulture specialists, researchers and government wildlife representatives from across the continent to provide input from a local perspective and to devise and promote the implementation of a Pan-African Vulture Conservation Plan that will address the above needs.

The participants have called for the effective regulation of the import, manufacture, sale and use of poisons, including agricultural chemicals and pharmaceutical products known to be lethal to vultures. They would like to see that all new energy infrastructures is vulture-friendly and that existing unsafe infrastructure is modified accordingly.

In addition, the participants are calling upon governments to support research, capacity building and outreach programmes for the conservation and survival of healthy vulture populations.

For more info contact Leo Niskanen, Technical Coordinator for Conservation Areas and Species Diversity on leo.niskanen@iucn.org or Andre Botha, Co-Chair, IUCN SSC Vulture Specialist Group andreb@ewt.org.za
 


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