Thursday 9 October 2014

Incidents of Vulture poisoning in Namibia on the increase

The poisoning of vultures in the Northeast parts of the country is believed to have had far reaching consequences for them beyond the boundaries of Namibia.

Poisoning incidents where large numbers of vultures perished have increased. It is thought that the vulture
populations from Namibia, Botswana and possibly Zambia and Zimbabwe could be affected. This was revealed by the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Uahekua Herunga on Wednesday in commemoration of the International Vulture Day. Herunga said widespread use of poison to control predators in the farming areas of Namibia, historically contributed to the decline in vulture populations throughout the country.

In Namibia, the Lappet-face, the White-backed, White-headed and the Hooded vultures are listed as endangered, while the Cape and the Egyptian vultures are already extinct. The current population of Vultures in Namibia is unknown.

"We need to raise the awareness, and the education of the general public if we are to put a stop to the
unnecessary killing of wildlife species and the endangering of human lives through irresponsible poison use. I
believe that many irresponsible uses of poisons and pesticides results from lack of awareness and education," the minister said.

Namibia is a summer feeding post for many African-Eurasian migrant bird species. Pesticides are  thought to be a key reason for the decline in the number of birds migrating to Southern Africa. Other wildlife at risk
includes all birds of prey, insect-eating mammals such as aardwolfs, hedgehogs and pangolins, insect and seed eating birds, water-fowl, insects, amphibians and fish.

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