The poison in the bodies of dead livestock is racking an Israeli vulture population that has already shrunk in recent years.
By Zafrir Rinat | Apr. 19, 2015 | 1:29 PM
Two vultures are in critical condition Sunday, suspected of being sickened by farmers who spread illegal poison in the carcasses of cows and sheep as a way to kill wild dogs, wolves and jackals.
The number of vultures and eagles nesting in Israel has fallen sharply in recent years, so these and other recent poisonings represent a serious blow to the country’s wildlife.
The two vultures were found in the Shunra Sands region in the south, which is used by farmers and also by the army for training. The birds were found over the weekend and sent to the animal hospital at the Zoological Center Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan, commonly known as Safari Park.
Alongside the vultures lay the bodies of two other birds of prey — one kite and one Egyptian vulture — and three wild dogs. All the animals had died from the poison, whose source was probably the decaying body of a dead sheep, which was found nearby.
This was the third incident in six weeks in which wild animals have been poisoned in either the Negev in the south or the Golan Heights in the north.
This weekend’s poisonings were discovered after an exhausted vulture was spotted at the Shunra Sands. It was suffering heart problems and was treated with atrophine, which can neutralize harm to the nervous system. Its condition improved.