NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya lost 40 vultures in February from illegal
wildlife poisoning, a senior official from a grassroots wildlife
lobby said on Tuesday.
Eric Ole Reson,
Program Coordinator of the Maasai Mara Wildlife and
Conservancies Association, said that survival of the critically
endangered vultures and other species in Kenya is at stake due
to human actions.
worsening poisoning activities in the country targeting
predators, means vultures are facing a severe threat of
extinction,” Reson told reporters in Nairobi.
He noted that his
organization and a team of other bird conservators have
discovered 40 dead vultures since Feb. 9 in the conservancies
around Masai Mara National Park and concluded that the birds
consumed a poisoned livestock carcass.
vital ecosystem services in African savannahs by recycling
nutrients, rapidly consuming carcasses, keeping diseases at bay
and sustaining the charismatic animals that are vital in
maintaining Kenya’s tourism industry,” said Reson.
He urged retaliatory
killers of the vultures to stop poisoning and help reverse their
poisoning usually occurs when livestock is attacked by predators
such as lions, hyenas and leopards.
then resort to lacing their dead livestock with easily
accessible agro-chemicals with the intention to kill predators
but vultures that scavenge on dead animals succumb to the poison
and hundreds die as a result.
According to Munir
Virani, Director of Global Conservation Strategy at the
Peregrine Fund, vulture populations globally are declining
rapidly due to intentional and accidental poisoning.
He revealed that the
birds succumb to death as a result of habitat loss and lack of
food and are considered one of the most threatened group of
animals in the world.
Africa has eleven
species of which six are found nowhere else in the world. Six of
the eight species that occur in Kenya are highly threatened with
extinction, according to the IUCN Red List of threatened
“This means that
without conservation intervention, these species have very
little chance of survival and may possibly go extinct within our
lifetimes,” said Virani.
“We are providing
people on the ground with the knowledge and tools to respond to
poisoning events,” added Paul Matiku, the Executive Director of
He said that the
organization has heightened awareness from within the Maasai
communities with the help of rangers and ground staff.
Vulture Coordinator for Birdlife International said that illegal
wildlife poisoning is a huge problem for the future survival of
vultures and carnivores across the continent.
He called for
concerted efforts in thwarting future poisoning attempt and
helps investigate the source of the problem.
“The existence of
vultures and other important bird species is crucial to any
society because they are productive and provide countless
services to humanity and biodiversity,” said Gudka.
These vulture deaths
coincide with a spate of other retaliatory poisonings across
Africa where six lions and 72 vultures were reported to have
been poisoned in the Ruaha-Katavi landscape in Tanzania in
Other deaths were
also reported in Mbashene, Southern Mozambique where 103
vultures were killed after feeding on a poisoned elephant
carcass and 50 more were poisoned in Gorongosa National Park,
Kenya is a signatory
to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of