By Schalk Mouton
Gambling has been linked to the increase in vulture poaching as traditional healers believe vulture heads can make you see into the future.
Dr Gerhard Verdoorn, director of the Griffon Poison Information Centre, said yesterday that the number of vultures poisoned for muti has increased dramatically.
He said in the "olden days" a "traditional healer had to kill the animal himself for it to have the necessary powers but, now that it has become commercialised, all the principles have fallen by the wayside" .
Traditional healers believe that sleeping with a vulture's head gives a person clairvoyant powers and the ability to predict sports scores, Lotto numbers and the like.
Verdoorn said the birds are sold for about R600 each.
Last week, two poachers were convicted for poaching two white-backed vultures and a tawny eagle near the iSimangaliso Mkuze Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal in January.
The two men, Sabelo Mbazini, 25, and unemployed Philani Gumede, 20, were arrested after game rangers received a tip-off that the birds' carcasses were to be sold at a nearby school. More....