Vultures may not be the prettiest of birds but they perform a crucial clean-up and recycling role in our environment by consuming dead animals that might otherwise spread disease and contamination. The Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey is celebrating these amazing but threatened species at International Vulture Awareness Day on Saturday, 5 September.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: $7 adults, $6 seniors, $5 youth
Location: World Center for Birds of Prey, 5668 W. Flying Hawk Lane
Lucy, a 10-year-old turkey vulture in the education program, will demonstrate her flying skills throughout the day. Lucy has been a vulture ambassador since coming to the World Center for Birds of Prey as a 5-month-old chick. She was rescued from people who had taken her illegally from the wild.
Two videos will be shown: "The Last Flight" describes the vulture crisis in India, where vultures are rapidly disappearing; "Curious as a Raven" is about the reintroduction of the California Condor, one of the world's most endangered birds. The Peregrine Fund raises condors at the World Center for Birds of Prey and releases them to the wild in northern Arizona near the Grand Canyon.
The Peregrine Fund also helps monitor and study vultures in Africa and Asia, where many vulture populations are in severe decline. In 2004, The Peregrine Fund discovered that the veterinary drug Diclofenac, used to treat sick livestock that later die and are left to scavengers, was responsible for massive vulture die-offs in India, Pakistan and Nepal. The drug was banned by those nations in 2006 but is still in wide use. Populations of White-backed Vultures, for example, have dropped by 99.7% since 1990 in India and no breeding pairs have been found in recent years in Pakistan. There are now fewer than 11,000 of these birds, down from 40 million. Loss of such scavengers has far-reaching ecological, economic, cultural and public health effects. http://peregrinefund.org/conserve_category.asp?category=Asian%20Vulture%20Crisis
This is the first time that Vulture Awareness Day is being celebrated internationally. It was first organized by the Bird of Prey Working Group in South Africa, Hawk Conservancy Trust in England, and their partners. The aim of the day is to create awareness of the plight of all vulture species worldwide and highlight the work done by conservationists who monitor vulture populations and take steps to conserve the birds and their habitat.
For more information, contact:
Director of Global Engagement