viernes, 6 de diciembre de 2013

Vulture decline 'could affect humans'

Africa's vulture population is in danger from illegal elephant and rhino poachers, a South African conservation group is warning.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and say whether the sentences below are true or false.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

1 Vultures are the only birds of prey in the rehabilitation centre.
2 Research and education are two other functions of the centre.
3 The dangers for the birds are all caused by humans.
4 Cape vultures are only found in South Africa.
5 One poisoned rhino or elephant may cause the death of 1,200 vultures.
6 Vultures stop the spread of diseases.
7 Vultures attack children in dumping sites.

 The center in here is basically one aspect of what we do. The center basically piggybacks as firstly rehabilitation center, secondly as a holding facility for non-releasable vultures as well as some other large birds of prey. Also as an educational center which will bring people into try and educate them to understand and appreciate vulture species, and as well as a research centre, if we need to undertake specific research we put the bird in a hospital camps and we do very specific research on them.
There’s all human-induced threats and then just natural. If you’re looking at power line electrocutions and collusions, the irresponsible use of poisons and… adjoining in farm reservoirs huge lack of food for the birds and safe food be it that, and lack of understanding, lack of appreciation and disturbance at breeding sites and feeding sites as well for the birds.
If we look at the cape vulture in particular we have under ten thousand individuals, about three and a half thousand breeding pairs left globally. Cape vultures are only found in Southern Africa. However, they are now only found in two countries left in Southern Africa, be it South Africa and Botswana with the latest and most recent extinction of the breeding species in Namibia, and what’s happened with the threats, as you know, if one looks at, for example, the mass of rhino poaching and elephant poaching at the moment, all you need for one poisoned rhino or one poisoned elephant and you wipe out six hundred vultures. However, during breeding season it’s not only the six hundred vultures that consume that carcass, it’s potentially their chicks as well, so you’re looking at 1,200 birds at one poisoning incident, and there’s no way a species can sustain those declines. So, you know, what is happening is going to have a catastrophic major impact in our environment. I would say at least in the next twenty years we could be, we could’ve halved a population.
Vultures are… they help to prevent the spread of diseases. If you look at the Asian vulture crisis, you add 99.9% of the vulture species declined in Asia it became a human health issue because their rotting carcasses were, you know, still lying in feeding sites, no vultures to consume them. It would feed dogs, feral dogs carry rabies, kids would play in those dumping sites and getting bitten by dogs, by these feral dogs and epidemical blow flies, so it does actually become a human health issue to us as well as our livestock, as well as our wildlife as well. So potentially, you know, we might not feel it today, but lose our birds, we’ll feel it in a year’s time after that to come.

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