Hundreds of vultures have been found dead in Guinea-Bissau over the past 10 days, according to the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF).
As of 28 February, the known death toll was placed at 648 – and this figure continues to rise in what represents a massive blow to the country's vulture populations.
Last week, an incident was reported in the eastern province of Bafatá, which was initially thought to have caused around 200 vulture deaths. However, the death toll subsequently increased substantially. Poisoning was initially thought to be the cause, given that this has become a frequent occurrence across Africa and is now recognised as posing the biggest threat to vultures around the continent.
André Botha, the Endangered Wildlife Trust Africa's Vultures for Africa Programme manager, said: "In recent years, we have unfortunately faced several incidents where hundreds of vultures died around a poisoned carcass, usually due to human-wildlife conflict with predators, we first thought this was such a case."