International Vulture Awareness Day, 2022
Today September 3, 2022, is International vulture awareness day.
Vulture Awareness Day was celebrated for the first time on September 3, 2009. After that, every year, on the first Saturday in September, the International Vulture Awareness Day is observed to raise awareness about the vulture population’s decline and educate the public about the vulture population.
A group of vultures, generally known as the “Committee”
Vultures are scavenging birds that dine primarily on the bodies of departed animals and appear to be unaffected. Their stomach acid is exceptionally eroding, allowing them to safely digest and eliminate pathogens such as botulinum toxin, hog cholera bacteria, and anthrax bacteria that would kill other scavengers.
Based on geographic location, vultures are classified into two classes. Old world vultures, located in Europe, Asia, and Africa, belong to the Accipitridae family. Eagles, kites, buzzards, and hawks are examples of old Vulture species.
Another is New World vultures, which belong to the Cathartidae family and are found in warm and temperate areas of the Americas. Old World and New World vultures do not belong to the same Clade, but the convergent evolution has brought the two groups closer together in appearance.
Vultures from both the Old and New World eat rotten garbage and filthy food, but their major source of food is the carcasses of deceased animals. Vultures from the Old World rely only on their keen eyesight to locate dead bodies.
Many vultures have a half-bald head, and their heads and necks are sometimes devoid of feathers. Their necks are also fairly lengthy. It has long been assumed that this is due to their eating habits.
The feathers were blown out when the head and neck were extended as much as possible to force the flesh out of the corpse’s structure as a result of swallowing the carcass.
Excessive use of pesticides in agriculture, food poisoning to kill rats and insects, collisions with windmill fans, and severe loss of breeding grounds by continuously felling tall trees/trees – are some key anthropogenic activities that endanger the vulture population.
Vultures are found in 23 different species (including Condors). According to a study published in 2016, “Among the 22 vulture species, nine are critically endangered, three are endangered, four are near threatened, and six are of least concern as listed in the IUCN Red list.”
The white-rumped vultures, under the Old World vulture spices, native to South and Southeast Asia, are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2000, due to the rapid decline of their population. This type of vulture dies of kidney failure caused by diclofenac poisoning. Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is widely used on cattle, including buffaloes in South Asia to reduce inflammation due to trauma and infectious diseases.
Vultures are a vital part of maintaining a healthy ecological environment around the globe. They also play a crucial function in protecting human health from various diseases.
Undoubtedly, the decline of the vulture population will accelerate the chances of disease transmission. Just as they eat the germs of infectious diseases, they also work indirectly and directly to prevent the spread of germs in our environment by eating small animals and disease vectors. Moreover, Vultures reduce the reproduction of insects by eating their carcasses.
Vultures must be safeguarded to prevent the spread of known and unknown diseases. For the sake of humankind, we must take proactive measures to protect this magnificent creature from extinction by implementing effective rules and regulations.