The beauty of vulture as patient bird
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ALTHOUGH they have become victims of poaching but they don’t compete with people but with other dwellers of the forest.

Columnist
Typography

IN simple word, beauty can be defined as a characteristic of an animal, idea, object, person or place that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, on other hand ugliness is a property of a person or thing that is unpleasant to look upon and results in a highly unfavourable evaluation.

To be ugly is to be aesthetically unattractive, repulsive, or offensive that’s why before many people’s eyes due to its life style and daily activities the vulture is not beautiful, an outcast and very dirty animal.

Vultures are group of scavenging birds of prey which live on carcasses of dead animals on African plains and they are characterised by bald heads and entirely lacking normal feathers which are found on other birds.

Vultures are bald headed because the bare skin may play an important role in thermoregulation because the birds have been observed to hunch their bodies and tuck in their heads in the cold, and open their wings and stretch their necks in the heat.

A group of vultures is called a wake, committee, kettle, venue, or volt this is because the word term kettle refers to vultures in flight, while committee refers to vultures resting in trees but wake stands for a group of vultures that are feeding on carcasses of dead animals.

The action of feeding on carcasses of dead animals is what gives the vulture unpleasant images before many people’s eyes but from their point of view, scientists say these birds play an important role on the environment.

At the time when prey are abundant, vultures look very ugly because they are not active as they sit sluggishly, sleeping or half asleep on a branch of an acacia tree while digesting their food.

On the other hand, vultures play a very important ecological role of cleaning the savannah where hundreds of animals die every day due to natural causes such as illness and aging.

It is estimated that a wake or a group of vultures consisting 100 to 600 birds is capable of devouring a carcass of an African buffalo weighing 1,000 kilograms and finish it after few munities leaving behind an empty skeleton.

Vultures play an initial and crucial role of decomposition process by opening the skeleton for powerful bacteria which will grinded the bones to dust while increasing soil fertility.

This makes the vultures to be number one and more efficient in the natural process of cleaning the forest than hyena and jackals which depend on their nostrils to collect smell of a decomposed body from the air and spend many hours to locate it in the middle of jungle.

To vultures this is wastage of time and energy, due to the habit of these birds to assemble and hovering in the sky about one thousand miles above a killing sight.

From a strategic location up in the sky, vulture are able to use their powerful eyes empowered by Telephoto vision mechanism which help them to pin point a location where a carcass of a zebra is laying.

Due to this role, ecologists like the presence of these birds inside a national park but poachers hate vultures because by hovering in the sky one thousand miles above a killing of an elephant they alert game wardens and authorities.

The eyes of these play a role where human’s eyes need assistance from scientific equipments such as binoculars to locate these culprits in the middle of a forest or beneath a valley in the savannah.

The Swahili names for vulture birds is Tumbusi and with their large wings are able to go down at a speed of 18 miles per hour while sending powerful waves with signals to others in the sky 20 miles away which may take 20 to 30 munities to congregate on the killing sight.

In some animal’s sanctuaries in Africa while targeting vultures, poachers are using special poison which they put in vegetables and loaf of breads to kill animals such as buffaloes and zebras.

They do this knowing that the poisoned animal’s carcasses are then eaten by vultures which also take portions to feed their chicks resulting into a massive death different species of vultures which are found in the savannah of Africa.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s or IUCN says that the problem between poachers and vultures started from the Far East in early 1970s, it caused painful effects in countries such India where there more than 60 millions of vultures but up to the end of 1990 the country lost 99.9 percent of these birds.

IUCN says this is a cata strophic phenomena in the history of conservation in Africa, due to the fact that one carcass may kill up 1,600 birds at once. This is because its estimated that at least one bird may take a poisoned piece of meat to chicks hutched in a nestle on rocks some miles away from the killing sight.

The IUCN also says that for the past 20 years, 1,500 pairs of breading vultures have been killed in South Africa but the ugly looking bird with beautiful actions is facing another problem in some East African countries.

It is believed that some farmers are using dead bodies of cattle to target leopard and lions which took their sheep, goat, cow but most of the ti methe carcass end up being eaten by vultures which are specialized on eating dead bodies.

In Tanzania and Kenya, it is not yet known how many vultures have been affected through this tedious action but the two giants of tourism in East Africa need these birds to remove dead bodies which fall along the way during Serengeti annual migration.

Species of vulture that are found in the savannah includes the Egyptian vulture also known as white scavenger vulture or pharaoh’s chicken which feed mainly on carrions.

Others are Kolbe’s vulture is capable flying to a long distant location in the park to feed on a carcass of a zebra, griffon vulture is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals which it finds by soaring over open areas while moving in flocks.

The hooded vulture is a native to sub Sahara Africa where it often moves in flocks searching for carcasses and is very abundant in different national parks where it is not afraid of people.

The lappet faced vulture or Nubian vulture is native to Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Benin, Central African Republic, Angola, Mauritania, Nigeria and Tanzania where it breed and nestles.

The Nubian vulture prefer to stay and scavenge into savannah plains where human’s activities are not present so the specie is abundant in protected animals sanctuaries such as Serengeti, Ruaha, Mikumi, Ngorongoro and others.

The Nubian vulture is a scavenging bird which feeds mostly from animal’s carcasses which it finds by sight or by watching other vultures, more than many other African vultures, they often find carrion on their own and start tearing through the skin but they are also the most powerful and aggressive of the African vultures.

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