Afrikaanse gierencrisis (HD3619)

Recent data have indicated widespread declines in vulture populations throughout Africa (Ogada et al. 2015). Although steep declines of carnivorous vertebrates and other vulnerable species with large area requirements have been reported from around the globe the past decades, the concurrent extirpation of an entire guild of birds in Africa is unprecedented and has potentially very important implication for disease transmission and human health (Ogada et al. 2012, Markandya et al. 2008). It follows on a similar crisis in Asia, where the extirpation of vultures led to an increase in the feral dog population, resulting in over 38.5 million additional dog bites and over 47,000 additional human deaths from rabies.

Markyanda et al. (2008) estimated that the increased number of rabies victims cost the Indian economy c. $34 billion. In response to reports on their widespread and rapid decline, all Africas endemic vultures were simultenaously uplisted to the highest threat categories on IUCNs Red List of Threatened Species in October 2015. In the meantime, the African Vulture Crisis lingers on, with conservation efforts being hampered by a lack of funds and a lack of knowledge about vulture population status and major threats in many areas. In order to focus conservation action for African vultures, more information on hotspots of African vulture occurrence, their connectivity, and threats over large areas of their distribution rangesis urgently needed.