Windhoek — The poisoning of vultures in the northeast parts of the country is believed to have had far reaching consequences for the vultures beyond the boundaries of Namibia.
In Namibia, the Lappet-face, the White-backed, White-headed and the Hooded vultures are listed as endangered, while the Cape and the Egyptian vultures are already extinct. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism could, however, not reveal the population of the existing vultures in Namibia as the birds scavenge for food migrating to neighbouring countries.
There has been reports of an increase in poisoning incidents where large numbers of vultures perished. It is believed that the vulture populations from Namibia, Botswana and possibly Zambia and Zimbabwe were affected by these poaching incidents. This was revealed by the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Uahekua Herunga on Wednesday in commemoration of the International Vulture Day. Although on a global scale, the population of the many vulture species are under pressure and some are facing the risk of extinction, Herunga said widespread use of poison to control predators in the farming areas of Namibia, historically contributed to the decline in vulture populations throughout the country.
"We need to raise the awareness, and the education of the general public if we are to put a stop to the unnecessary killing of wildlife species and the endangering of human lives through irresponsible poison use. I believe that many irresponsible uses of poisons and pesticides results from lack of awareness and education," the minister noted. Against this, the ministry launched a booklet on poisons and pesticides which serve as a guide to safe use.
The booklet highlights that Namibia is a summer feeding post for many African-Eurasian migrant bird species. It also states that pesticides are key reason for the decline in the number of birds migrating to Southern African, as highlighted at the Convection for Migratory Species to which Namibia is a signatory. Other wildlife at risk includes all birds of prey, insect-eating mammals such as aardwolfs, hedgehogs and pangolins, insect and seed eating birds, water-fowls, also insects such as bees, dung beetles, praying mantis, ladybirds, amphibians and fish.