Resulting from poisoning by the diclofenac, a veterinary drug given to livestock which is toxic to vultures, brought declining birth rates there are only 12,000 — 38,000 left and on the decline.
Egyptian vulture is one of 23 known vulture species. This bird can be found in the southern parts of Europe, in eastern and central parts of Asia, North Africa, Arabia, Tanzania, Angola, Namibia, Canary Islands and the Cape Verde Islands. Egyptian vulture can survive in coastal areas, open plains, savannas, forests and villages. Egyptian vultures mostly feed on carcasses of dead birds and small mammals. They can also eat rotten fruits and vegetables. Rarely, they will hunt weak and injured small animals. Egyptian vulture was worshiped by pharaohs in Egypt because of its ability to remove garbage and remaining of dead animals. For this reason, Egyptian vulture is also known as "Pharaoh's Chicken".
They are a diurnal bird meaning they are active during the day. They can travel up to 80 miles when searching for food. As for migration pattern they live in colder climates and will move toward the Sahara during the winter. And their average lifespan is around 30 years and 37 years in captivity.Globally there are estimated to be 13,000-41,000 adults. However, further research is needed to refine this figure. One of the major issues threatening the species is illegal poisoning that is aimed at carnivores.
The widespread use of Diclofenac to treat livestock may have led to the population crash in the Indian subcontinent. Vultures feed on the carcasses of domestic animals and because they lack the enzyme to break down the drug, Diclofenac accumulates in their systems, causing them to die of kidney failure. In Africa and Spain, particularly on the Canary Islands and in Sudan, many vultures die from electrocution by poorly designed transmission lines. Across many parts of Africa, vultures are caught and used for medicinal purposes.
A number of threats impact European populations of Egyptian Vulture. New regulations on methods of disposal of animal carcasses were brought in by the European Union in 2002, greatly reducing food availability for vulture populations. Some die from lead poisoning from ingesting gunshot from hunted carcasses.There have been a number of measures including community engagement in the form of awareness campaigns, particularly against illegal poisoning. In Italy and Bulgaria, the nests of the most threatened pairs of Egyptian Vulture are being guarded during the breeding season. So this population has a chance to recover but threats like poison and electric fences must be eliminated for a recovery.
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