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Mysterious deaths of vultures in Guinea-Bissau

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  • Mysterious deaths of vultures in Guinea-Bissau

    Translation Google

    In Guinea-Bissau, a mysterious massacre of vultures

    Home > Buzz > Unusual - Today at 1:47 pm - AFP

    Hundreds of vultures have died for a mysterious reason in recent days in Guinea-Bissau, authorities said on Tuesday, which recommended that people avoid contact with the bodies of raptors to avoid the risk of contamination while waiting for results of veterinary analyzes.

    Dozens of dead vultures have been found near the main slaughterhouse in Bissau, where they usually roam in large numbers to feed on meat scraps, workers from the establishment said.

    For the past week or so, the phenomenon has affected several regions of this former Portuguese colony in West Africa with a tropical climate, notably Bafata (east), Quebo (south) and the Bijagos archipelago (west), before reaching the capital.

    "I have been informed by butchers and the population of the discovery of vulture carcasses. In total, we have counted a hundred, but we do not yet have a medical or veterinary source to give us the reasons (explaining) as many vulture deaths, "said Bunda district governor Dundu Sambu to the press.

    Some 135 raptors were cremated Monday in this region, away from inhabited areas and under the supervision of health authorities and state officials, according to the Bissau-Guinean newspaper O Democrata, which estimates more than 240 the numbers of raptors who died in recent days in the country.

    Samples have been taken and will be analyzed in a laboratory in Dakar, in neighboring Senegal, to determine whether it is "an avian flu or not", told AFP a national official of veterinary services, Mboma Bald?.

    The populations were invited to avoid contact with dead birds and to prevent domestic animals from approaching or feeding on them, said the governor of Bafata, quoted by O Democrata.

    In the Bijagos Islands, off the coast of Bissau, where the vulture is a totem animal, residents have sacrificed chickens and spread palm oil on the altar during traditional ceremonies to ward off what they consider to be a curse, the son of a local witch doctor told AFP.
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela

  • #2
    This one seems obvious, the locals have started to use diclofenac on their cattle, a painkiller which allows them to get a bit more work out of dying animals.
    The downside is that it kills the vultures that serve as the local sanitation system.
    Based on the experience in India, where over 90% of the vultures died as a result, expect a big increase in feral dogs.


    • #3
      Translation Google


      In?s SequeiraStoriesFebruary 28, 2020BirdsNecrophagous birds

      The numbers point to at least 648 vultures killed for still mysterious causes, "significant damage" to these birds in Guinea-Bissau, warn international conservation organizations.

      Vulture numbers in Africa have declined sharply in recent years, which has led the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to classify three species as Endangered and four others as Critically Endangered.

      “With vulture species on the verge of extinction in Africa, an incident like this could represent a blow to the conservation status of various species, at a national and even regional level”, warn the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) and the Expert Group in IUCN Vultures , in a statement sent to Wilder.

      One of the problems is that the causes of these deaths have yet to be clarified, note the two organizations. Earlier in the week, when the first 200 deaths of vultures were known in the province of Bafat?, it was suspected that the birds had been poisoned. This is because vulture poisoning is a common occurrence in Africa and the greatest threat to these birds on the continent.

      “In recent years, we have unfortunately faced several incidents in which hundreds of vultures have died around poisoned carcasses , usually due to conflicts between humans and predators, and we first thought it was one of those cases”, explains Andr? Botha, manager of the Vultures project for Africa , cited in the statement.

      However, as more similar cases were discovered elsewhere in Bafat? province, the situation became more confused. "This dispersion has complicated the case, since normally the poisoning incidents are more concentrated", add the two entities, who notes that "the precise cause of the deaths has yet to be established".

      The most affected species appears to be the hooded vulture ( Necrosyrtes monachus ) , which is considered to be in critical danger of extinction by the IUCN. "This incident could represent significant damage to its status in West Africa."

      Authorities reacted quickly

      According to the VCF, the authorities' response was “swift”, due to the involvement of the ministries of public health, agriculture and forestry, the secretary of state for the environment and the governor of Bafat?.

      "A rapid response team was dispatched to the region and incinerated at least 135 vulture carcasses on February 24 to minimize the risk of contagion," reports the NGO. "But the situation proved to be much more complicated than previously thought as reports of dead vultures came from elsewhere, although not all have yet been confirmed."

      For now, the World Health Organization office in Bissau is also involved in this process, as these hundreds of deaths can be a threat to public health. "Samples of vulture carcasses have been collected and will be sent to Ghana for laboratory tests to help determine the tail of death."

      "The authorities so far have been very responsive and have acted quickly, which needs to be maintained until the cause of mortality is found," commented VCF's top official, Jos? Tavares, quoted in the statement.

      The NGO and the IUCN Vulture Specialist Group have meanwhile sent a letter to the Guinean Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in which they stress the urgency of the situation and offer support.

      “The main priority now is to help identify the causes and what could be behind this phenomenon that is causing the widespread death of vultures. It is still unclear whether this is a case of poisoning or something else ”, also warns the VCF. "It is crucial that authorities act quickly to identify the source of this mortality, but also that they incinerate all dead vultures to prevent further deaths and contamination, thereby protecting public health."
      "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
      -Nelson Mandela