By Aluta News
Sept 3, 2023
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) on Sunday called for the conservation of the declining vulture population in Nigeria to prevent extinction and looming epidemic.
Mr Oladapo Soneye, Communications Manager, NCF, who made the call in a statement in Lagos, said that vultures are the only species of birds/wildlife that fed on carcasses without emitting disease into the atmosphere.
Soneye said: ” vultures are otherwise called nature’s sanitary prefect, because they are the only species of bird/wildlife that feed on carcasses without emitting disease into the atmosphere, unlike other scavengers.
“The absence of vultures can lead to the outbreak of diseases such as anthrax, rabies, etc,” he said.
Soneye said that the NCF had embarked on a rescue mission tagged, “Supporting Community-based Monitoring and Conservation for Vulture Populations in Identified Vulture Safe Zones across Nigeria.”
He said that the goal of the rescue mission was to tackle the declining population of vultures and its associated benefits to the people.
According to him, the project which is supported by the Indianapolis Zoo is part of a series of activities to conserve the remaining vultures in the country.
“The global community commemorated the International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD) on Sept. 2.
“The NCF is using the opportunity to create more awareness about the importance of vultures in our society, and to harp on some critical efforts it has put in place to help improve the situation.
“The Vulture Safe Zones (VSZ) project is one of the foundation’s efforts designed to protect the remnant vulture populations in their natural environment and support sustainable livelihoods,” Soneye said.
He added that the foundation also leveraged on the VSZ project to preserve the ecosystem benefits of the species, and promote peaceful and positive coexistence between the people and vultures.
The NCF communication manager noted that another goal of the VSZ project was to reverse the negative trends in the viable populations of vultures found in two selected sites in Nigeria.
He explained that some of the VSZ activities was stakeholders’ engagement to identify threats and design livelihood alternatives to associated threats.
He added that the activities also included training of the local community on vulture population monitoring.
“These activities held on July 20 and 21 at Iruowelle Village Community Hall, Awka-Etiti, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
“The training focused on raising the capacity of community-based volunteers within the zones to methodically observe and report the trends in vulture populations in their community, ” he said.
According to Soneye, the trainings are important as it promotes species appreciation and consciousness within the community.
“The volunteers were also supported with monitoring equipment, which included six binoculars, two GPS units, two mobile phones, data sheets and other writing materials, ” he said.
Soneye stressed that Nigeria was home to seven out of the 11 vultures species that existed in Africa.
He listed the seven vulture species existing in Nigeria as including – the Egyptian Vulture – Neophron Percnopterus (Endangered); the Hooded Vulture – Necrosyrtes Monachus (Endangered), and the White-backed Gyps Africanus (Endangered).
“Others are – the White-headed Vulture – Trigonoceps Occipitalis (Vulnerable); the Ruppell’s Griffon – Gyp Rueppellii (Endangered); the Palm-nut Vulture – Gypohierax Angolensis (Least Concern) and the Lappet-faced Vulture -Torgos Tracheliotus – (Endangered),” Soneye said.
He added that the only vulture species that seemed to be thriving in the country were the Hooded Vulture and Palm-nut Vulture.