Celebrating International Vulture Awareness Day!

11 September 2021 0 By Bambam

Vulture Awareness Day was first started by the Hawk Conservancy Trust and the Birds of Prey Programme of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. Celebrated across the world as of 2009, International Vulture Awareness Day or IVAD, aims to raise awareness about the natural history of vultures, their importance within a variety of ecosystems as “keystone species”, and why it is important to protect them on a global scale. 

Here are some fun facts:

  • The primary threat to vultures is the presence of toxins in the carrion they consume
  • In the absense of vultures, other scanvenger populations increase. The increase of these scavengers could bring bacteria and viruses from carcasses into human cities
  • There are 23 vulture species, which are divided into two groups: New World vultures (found in North, South, and Central America) and Old World vultures (found in Africa, Asia and Europe)
  • The Rüppell’s griffon vulture is believed to be the world’s highest-flying bird, with confirmed sightings at more than 35,000 feet (10,668 meters)
International Vulture Awareness Day - The importance of vultures

In Canada, the Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) is a common species found in all areas of the country. The California Condor (Gymogyps californianus) which was at one time considered extinct in Canada, may have recently been spotted in British Columbia for the first time in over fifty years. Although these two species are just a small fraction of vultures across the world, we must not forget that vultures in Canada can become vulnerable at any time. 

As of 2018, BirdLife International and researchers estimate that on average vultures are at greater risk of extinction than birds in general. As such, it is incredibly important that continued conservation efforts and advocacy for vultures continues. Participating in various activities such as International Vulture Awareness Day is just one example of a way that you can get involved!

Getting involved on International Vulture Awareness Day is as easy as logging onto IVAD’s website and sharing the ways in which your community is taking action to protect and celebrate vultures.

Some activity ideas include: 

  • Sharing articles with friends and family online about vulture conservation 
  • Signing petitions preventing the use of poisons and pesticides linked to vulture declines 

Learn more about IVAD and their partners here: https://www.vultureday.org/

Read more about the threats facing vulture populations internationally here:
https://www.birdlife.org/worldwide/vulture-crisis

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