(Tuesday) 09:45 - 10:15
Hannah Green & Zoe Phillips: The Rapid Decline of Vultures Vultures are one of the most endangered groups of species on the planet, yet they
Hannah Green & Zoe Phillips: The Rapid Decline of Vultures
Vultures are one of the most endangered groups of species on the planet, yet they are one of the most important for the global ecosystem. I have taken the time to photograph some of these magnificent creatures to aid conservation in raising awareness of them. Old World vultures are massively in decline, white-backed vultures in particular; 13-15years ago, they were categorised by the IUCN Red List as being ‘Least Concern’, but their population declined by around 52%, leaving them classed as Critically Endangered. It is said, that by 2070, vultures will become extinct! They need the help of conservation more than ever. But conservation needs the help of people, people who are made aware of their current decline. Vultures as a whole, are seen with a negative view, they are thought to be ‘ugly’ and ‘disgusting’, my aim is to change their minds. Vultures are such intelligent, inquisitive and gentle creatures. Hooded vultures for example, another Critically Endangered species, ‘blush’ when they are excited and enjoying themselves. An amazing fact about them that can make people fall in love with them, the cuteness level is up there with that of puppies – and who doesn’t love puppies! The primary threat that these gorgeous birds face is that of poisoned carcass. Being scavengers, vultures feed off carcasses; however, due to their soaring behaviours, poachers now poison the carcasses (primarily elephants for ivory) because the soaring vultures give away the poacher’s location to rangers. The poison works as an ‘easy escape’ for the poachers, leaving the vultures to die, shortly after consuming the poisoned flesh. It is so important that people are aware of this! In 2018, one single poisoned elephant carcass resulted in the death or nearly 500 white-backed vultures, hundreds of hooded vultures, and multiple other species such as African hunting dogs, hyenas, and lions. Vultures are not only these remarkable creatures because of their intelligence, inquisitiveness and beauty, but they also pose a very important role to the ecosystem. The bacteria contained within rotting carcasses causes diseases, that could spread globally, causing major health issues for other species, including humans. But vultures are actually able to digest these bacteria due to special enzymes within their stomach acid, freeing all other life from these diseases. They are the dustbin men of the planet, and they must be protected. On the contrary, another species affected by poisoned carcasses, as mentioned before are African wild dog, another Critically Endangered species. Zoe Phillips, who also captures these remarkable creatures, producing some incredible photos, will discuss how they are impacted, and discuss the additional threats that they face. Both African wild dogs and vultures are negatively viewed due to lack of information known. We aim to change that.
Speakers for this event
I am a 21 year old University student at University Centre Sparsholt, Winchester , UK, with the ambition to go into conservation research or become a biologist. Previously I undertook two years Animal Management course at college to help me get into University, where I first undertook my FdSc Animal Management Degree, and am currently taking my BSc Zoo Biology Degree. After this, I plan to stay at Sparsholt to take a Zoo Biology Masters Degree. Research is such an important aspect in conservation as it enables conservationists, zoo keepers, vets, etc. to understand the remarkable species we have on this planet. I manage two Instagram accounts dedicated for wildlife photography; all of my animal photos are uploaded on there, giving facts about why the chosen species is endangered, followed by why it is important to its ecosystem. The aim is to engage people in understanding and raising awareness for the photographed species. I have always been passionate about vultures, it is what drives me to support them. Growing up I knew I wanted to help protect endangered species, learning about them. My passion for them is what drives my ambition. I am yet to experience the hands on work with vultures but the main goal is to be out in the field researching them, discovering new ways to protect them, and the surrounding species, from the challenges and threats that they face.
- Day 1
16.00 Opening day events16.00 - 21.00Opening day events including keynotesSpeakers: Bayo Akomolafe, Beatrice Allegranti