20 August 2009

Worldwide Events Planned for International Vulture Awareness Day

An international effort in recognition of the diversity of vultures around the world and their natural history is being held on September 5th.

International Vulture Awareness Day aims to create greater awareness of vultures, highlight the important efforts underway by the world’s vulture conservationists, and to illustrate the plight of some species.

The event is being sponsored by the Birds of Prey Working Group of EWT in South Africa and the Hawk Conservancy Trust in England.

Organizations in Africa, Europe, the Americas and South-Asia are celebrating this day with a variety of events. "The aim is for each participating organisation to carry out their own activities that highlight vulture conservation and awareness," according to the website for the event.

For Johan van Rensburg, of South Africa, an "Awareness Day for vultures is long overdue," he said. "Personally I think specifically the South African bearded vultures are doomed to become regionally extinct! With 92 known breeding pairs and well less than 400 birds in the country and the battle I have had as someone deeply interested in the plight of these birds to get information about the event at this late stage

"I am trying to get contact information of active vulture restaurants in South Africa. The idea is to join the effort to identify and count vultures (and other raptors) feeding at a local restaurant as proposed between 6 A.M. and 2 P.M. on the 5 September 2009," he wrote in a posting on the South Africa bird forum. "I know of a number of lesser connected birders who would love to get involved. It could be a great fun day out during which lots can be learnt from the more expert observers that should be present at these sites.

"Unfortunately these procedings have been largely low-key whereas, in my opinion, it should be very high on die general birding agenda in order to achieve the objective of raising awareness of the plight of these magnificent birds.

"Since making the posting, I have had a number of emails with suggestions and directions on how to join the day's events in various centers around the country. Maybe the people concerned will crawl out of the woodwork after this reminder?"

Examples of other events of the day include:

Bird Explorers of Thailand
"We will feature a vulture section on our blog with photos of Asian and African vultures from our Bird Explorers photographic library. If anyone needs Asia vulture photos, we are happy to share."
Dhartee Development Society, of Pakistan
"To organise exposure visit by journalists to observe the feeding center set up by DDS at desert zone outside Nagar Parkar Town of Tharparkar District, Sindh province of Pakistan, which is located near the Pakistan -Indian border. Wildlife conservationists and local community activists will also be invited to express solidarity with the world conservationists to save the prey bird, which is under threats."
Nature College of India
"Awareness campaign and talk"

The extent of activities varies, with a list of participants and their efforts is available on the IVAD website.

As part of event activities, there will be a "blog festival" on September 5.

"IVAD09 invites you to blog about vultures. Write, film, draw or photograph Old or New World vultures and share your post with the world."

IVAD09 - the Kempenfeldt Farm Experience

Johan van Rensburg prepared a wonderful web-post on the events of the day in South Africa. He presents a story about the day and some pictures of vultures at the bird-hide at the farm.

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