International Vulture Awareness Day: Protect nature's clean-up crew
What do you think of vultures? Ferocious scavengers? Carcass chasers? Their unique food preferences often make people misunderstand them and neglect their contribution to the environment. By eating carcasses and other organic waste, vultures help to clean up our environment and prevent disease from spreading.
International Vulture Awareness Day is celebrated on the first Saturday in September each year to raise public awareness of these birds and the important role they play in the ecosystem.
The world's 23 different vulture species are categorized based on where they live. New World vultures consist of seven species native to North and South America, while Old World vultures include 16 species found in Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Over half of the species are listed by IUCN Red List as endangered. They face a range of threats, including poisoning, electrocution, food shortage and habitat loss. Poisoning is a major threat to vultures, primarily from toxins or lead in the carcasses they eat.