UMD’s SESYNC Leads an International Collaboration to Save the African Vulture Population

Recent major poisoning event in Kenya sheds light on the many facets of the issues threatening wildlife conservation efforts in vultures and other species

An African vulture on his perch

Image Credit: Edwin Remsberg

July 15, 2020 SAMANTHA WATTERS

Earlier this year, a major poisoning event took place in Maasai Mara, Kenya, leaving more than 20 vultures dead with many more struggling to recover. This may not sound consequential, but the African vulture population is already under serious threats and struggling to survive. Vultures serve as vital stewards of human, animal, and the environmental health by acting as nature’s garbage disposals and disinfectors, but they are disappearing not just in Africa, but globally. With the loss of these obligate scavengers, diseases like rabies that should no longer be a concern are re-emerging as threats. To address this major public health and conservation concern, the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC, funded by the National Science Foundation through the University of Maryland) has convened an interdisciplinary group of scientists with the lofty goal of saving Africa’s vulture population.

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