Our Neighborhood's Biodiversity Map

* Please click the continent to see the endangered species of our neighborhood.
2012-white-backed-vulture * To See the original image, please click the image
Shared by : Brian Waswala (Kenya)
Region : Mauritania, east to Ethiopia, and south through East Africa to South Africa
Status : Critically Endangered
The white-backed vulture (Gyps africanus) is the most widespread and common vulture in Africa. It is a medium-sized vulture with a body weight of about 4.2 - 7.2 kilograms (9.3 - 15.9 lb) and a wingspan of 1.96 - 2.25 m (6 - 7 ft). The current global population is estimated at about 270,000 individuals. Ecology: White-backed vultures are found in open wooded savanna, particularly areas of Acacia. They require tall trees for nesting. Population status: Like other vulture species, the white-backed vulture populations have reduced rapidly. The vulture populations have declined by over 90% in West Africa. The endangered vulture has also declined in Sudan South Sudan Somalia and Kenya. But there is hope, as the population Ethiopia is stable. Ecological roles: White-backed vultures are scavengers (organisms that mostly consume decaying biomass, such as meat or rotting plant material). They help in disposing off carcasses of animals and thus keep the ecosystem free of the bodies of dead animals. The vultures use their excellent eyesight and a strong sense of smell to locate rotting carrion while they are soaring high over land. As scavengers, white-backed vultures play an important role the food web as this helps in recycling of nutrients within an ecosystem. Reason for population decline: The decline in white-backed vultures population is attributed to habitat loss and conversion to agro-pastoral systems, decline in wild ungulate (hoofed animal) populations, hunting for trade, persecution, collisions and poisoning (particularly from the highly toxic pesticide carbofuran, within East Africa). These declines are likely to continue into the future. In southern Africa, the vultures are caught and consumed for perceived medicinal and psychological benefits while in Nigeria, the decline and possible is attributed to the trade in vulture parts for traditional juju practices. Overhead power-lines within vulture ranges have also resulted to un-intended electrocution.

Sources :
IUCN Redlist : http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22695189/0 (Date: 18 May 2015)


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