The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has decried the continued decline of vultures, saying this poses a danger to human existence.
Director-General of the foundation, Dr. Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, said threats to vulture species are from humans.
He spoke during the premier of a documentary titled, “Our Plights to Survive: Nigeria’s Vulture and Wildlife Trade Crisis” at the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) in Lagos.
The production was supported by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Egyptian Vulture New LIFE project.
Aminu-Kano stated that a campaign for the survival of vultures translates to the survival of the ecosystem and other species.
He urged the general public to team up with NCF in the war against vultures’ extinction, as NCF and a few other organisations cannot handle the issues alone.
He said, “Awareness is being given to vultures because of the shocking rate of their decline. Vultures today are in dire situations, especially outside conservation areas. They are in danger of being poisoned, especially through the deliberate poisoning of carnivores; electrocution by power lines passing through breeding sites, direct persecution, and declining food availability.
“Deliberate poisoning of carnivores is likely the most widespread cause of vulture poisoning. Human persecution of vultures has occurred for centuries and continues unabated. These are all human-induced threats!
“Among the 15 species of the African-Eurasian Vulture (with ranges across Africa, Asia, and Europe) 8 species are Critically Endangered; 3 are Endangered, and 3 are Near Threatened.”
Director of Technical Programme, NCF, Dr Joseph Onoja, who spoke on ‘the journey so far’ said the foundation began its campaign for the protection of vultures in 2016.
He said, “The decline of vultures in Nigeria should be everyone’s concern if we understand and appreciate their importance or contributions to human health and the economy.
“This decline in the number of vultures is not only exacerbated by natural or climate-induced changes but chiefly driven by human-induced threats associated with belief-based use.”
He stated that ecological consequences of vulture decline include changes in community composition of scavengers at carcasses and an increased potential for disease transmission between mammalian scavengers at carcasses and human population.
“There have been cultural and economic costs of vulture decline as well, particularly in Nigeria,” Onaja added.