Conservation Speaker Series: Every Vulture Matters
March 22  //  6-8 pm

Kerri Wolter, Founder and CEO, VulPro

Members - $30
Non Members - $35
Children - $10
Your ticket includes dinner, 1 drink, and the presentation
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In 2015, the IUCN Conservation Status of several species were ‘uplisted’ based on their rate of decline. African vultures are facing several threats, making their conservation not a simple task. Poisoning incidences seem to be on the rise, or at least are much more regularly reported. Poisonings occur from a few means – poachers lace elephant or rhino carcasses to intentionally kill vultures and as scavengers vultures inevitably ingest any poison implemented to kill other animals (either ‘problem’ animals like jackals or leopards) or prized animals targeted by poachers. While a single poisoned elephant can kill hundreds of vultures, wiping out an entire colony or local population, power line electrocutions and collisions are the most profuse threats to vultures in South Africa. The power line grid is expansive and often structures are out of date and unsafe for the large birds to perch. Superstitious beliefs are prominent, creating a demand for vulture parts, especially the head (brains, eyes) and feet, in the establishment of luck and forecasting the outcomes of events like soccer matches. As humans have expanded over the South African landscape, carcasses from natural deaths are sparse, prompting the creation of over 250 vulture restaurants over Southern Africa. These sites provision food specifically for vulture populations mostly from pig and cattle farm mortalities. These sites are strictly managed as some Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used on cattle can be, even in small amounts, lethal to vultures. Diclofenac in particular (Voltaren for people) caused the deaths of millions of vultures on the Indian Subcontinent in the early 2000’s.