By Salvatore Cardoni
To evade detection, Africa’s professional elephant killers are silencing vultures with poison pills.
How's this for collateral damage.
Hell-bent on offing any witnesses to their deadly operation, elephant poachers in Africa have begun killing vultures en masse by lacing the discarded pachyderm bodies with poison pills.
Why, you ask?
Because circling, squawking vultures are the savanna equivalent of a screaming coal mine canary: “Hey, wildlife cops! A bunch of elephants were just murdered right below us, and if you hurry, you still might be able to catch the poachers! Go! Go! Go!”
In July, a reported 600 vultures were found poisoned to death next to a single elephant carcass in Namibia’s Botswana [sic\ National Park. Similar incidents have occurred in Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Botswana in recent years, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
This new-ish threat couldn’t come at a worse time for vultures. In West Africa, vulture populations have declined by 42 percent over the past 30 years. A January 2013 study showed that, because vultures fly long distances to feed outside national parks, they are increasingly at risk of chemical poisoning in agriculture areas. The drug that most worries conservationists is called diclofenac, reports Discovery.
Diclofenac builds up in the bodies of vultures after they feed on dead cattle treated with the anti-inflamatory drug. Kidney failure may eventually kill the vultures after they accumulate enough of the drug." More....