Poisoning of Africa's vultures and raptors




Africa's Raptors are decimated by agricultural poisons

Flip through the environmental news headlines, they all say pretty much the same thing: raptors, especially vultures, are dying out along with a number of Africa’s mammals. I’m not including rhino, elephants and lions here. Certain species of vultures have suffered losses of up to 97%. Populations in parts of east and southern Africa have dropped, on average, between 50% to 60%.

And the reason they're dying is simple and entirely preventable. The number one issue is poisoning by agricultural insecticides and a lot of the deaths can be attributed to a single  product called Carbofuron. It is a systematic agricultural insecticide that has been classified by WHO as being extremely toxic to humans and the sale of the product is banned in the US and Europe, but it is still being manufactured and sold in Africa. It is not only the WHO who finds Carbofuron highly toxic but according to the manufacturer’s own label it states “Keep out of areas inhabited by fish, birds and wildlife as this product is highly toxic to such animals”. So, even if you follow the manufactures guidelines exactly there is sure to be a huge negative impact on the environment and all the species that this poison comes into contact with. Aspirin-size amounts can kill 20 000 small birds within 10 to 20 minutes; killing raptors, too, when they feed on the poisoned carcasses. Even after 7 months pass, those carcasses are so heavy with poison that they can kill the scavengers within hours.  7 months later and residual toxins can still kill and we are using this toxin on our foodstuff ? Along with this is the fact that wildlife poachers are using the self same poison to hide their grizzly deeds by poisoning the carcass to kill all the vultures in order to prevent its discovery. Not many great reasons that I can see to keep manufacturing this product. Credit for Images of dead vultures Nic Proust

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