In Africa, vulture numbers have declined dramatically due to a toxin called Carbofuran or Furadan, a carbamate-based pesticide that is misused by livestock owners and others to poison predators like lions and hyenas that attack their domestic animals. Despite efforts to ban it, Furadan is still cheap and available over the counter.
U.S. manufacturers have halted sales of Furadan to Kenya, where large die-offs have occurred, but the devastating effects continue to be seen on all scavenging animals. A single Furadan-laced carcass kills lions, hyenas, jackals, and scavenging birds including vultures, Marabou Storks, Bateleurs, and Tawny Eagles.
Vulture species affected include:
These three species have declined at such an alarming rate in one of Africa’s most significant wildlife reserves that they are threatened with extinction. A 2010 study by The Peregrine Fund, National Museums of Kenya, and Princeton University found that vulture populations around the Masai Mara National Reserve have dropped up to 60 percent in three decades.
The Peregrine Fund supports ongoing studies and education efforts in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa. See Africa Program for more information about our work with vultures.