As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Mass poisoning of vultures in KwaZulu-Natal

49 vultures killed with carbofuran
July 2013. On the afternoon of the 15th of July 2013 an Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Wildlife light aircraft spotted a large number of vultures lying on the ground on New Hope farm, in Swartberg, during a routine game count. Ezemvelo KZN alerted the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and the African Birds of Prey Sanctuary (ABoPS), and the two NGOs visited the site early the next morning.

49 dead vultures
Upon arrival they were greeted by the grizzly sight of the carcasses of more than 48 Cape Vultures and one African White-backed Vulture. Two Cape Vultures were found alive and were treated for poisoning by staff of the ABoPS. Both have fortunately responded to treatment and are expected to make a full recovery.

Poisoned sheep carcasses - Carbofuran used
"Several sheep carcasses found on site are suspected of being intentionally poisoned in order to control jackal predation on new-born lambs. These carcasses, as well as samples from the crop and stomach contents of the dead vultures, were collected and sent to a laboratory for analysis. The subsequent results clearly demonstrate the use of a poison called Carbofuran in the baited carcasses. Carbofuran is a pesticide poison commonly used for destroying worms in crops. This is the worst incident of vulture poisoning in KZN that I have seen in the 12 years I have been working with birds of prey in the province," said Ben Hoffman of Raptor Rescue, the dedicated bird of prey hospital located at the African Bird of Prey Sanctuary.

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