ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

International Vulture Awareness Day

Updated on August 27, 2019
Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter is an independent international zoo consultant, critic and writer. He currently works as Curator of Penguins in Dubai.

International Vulture Awareness Day

The International Vulture Awareness Day takes place each and every year in September (on the 7th in 2019). The day is all about promoting an awareness of the importance of vultures and the vital niche role they play in the web of life.

Vultures have had a rough time of it in recent years. There was a massive die off in the vultures of India and elsewhere as they were poisoned by veterinary medicines used in the treatment of cattle. The drug 'diclofenac' was used to treat inflammation in cows but a vulture eating a cow which had been treated with the drug would usually die within 24 hours.

Only now through a combination of tighter controls, protection and captive breeding has a light begun to appear at the end of the tunnel. Vultures are important in India not just for cleaning up dead animals but within the religious practices of the Parsis who place their dead on the 'Towers of Silence' which are then visited by vultures.

Elsewhere in the world vultures are shot and killed by the ignorant. A new threat to arise is the wind turbines used to generate electricity. Vultures are being hit and killed by the huge blades. Whereas some of these deaths have been reported and scientifically recorded, many more are suspected to have gone unreported. It is suspected that the wind turbines in Spain will lead to the extinction of the locally occurring Egyptian Vultures. The same problem exists wherever the turbines are and vultures occur. Not just vultures but eagles and other birds too. There is a conspiracy of silence.

What is your zoo doing?

What is your zoo doing? Each and every zoo that holds vultures, every falconry centre everywhere needs to be promoting International Vulture Awareness Day. Even if you don't have vultures you should be getting the message out about the threats this very important group of birds is under.

King Vulture


What is a Vulture?

A vulture is a large 'Bird of Prey' belonging to the families either Cathartidae or Accipitridae. Not unlike an eagle in appearance it is characterised by having a featherless neck and head. The vultures do not hunt and kill their food but feed upon carrion.

Although all vultures have their specialist niche the most unusual is probably the Palm Nut Vulture Gypohierax  angolensis which, although it will take carrion feeds mainly on plant matter. 

Probably the most attractive of all the vultures is the King Vulture, Sarcoramphus papa.

Wind Turbines and Vultures

The Cape Griffon Vulture is one of the most endangered. Huge numbers of birds have died as a result of poisoning. The poison has usually been placed to kill other species like feral dogs but the vultures die too.

They are further threatened by gamblers who believe that by smoking the brains of vultures gives them the ability to predict the future.

As with so many species pollution and habitat destruction plays a part in speeding up the extinction of some Vulture Species. There are 23 Vulture species. Very few of these could be classed as common.

  • Indian Black Vulture - Sarcogyps calvus - Critically Endangered
  • Slender-billed Vulture - Gyps tenuirostris - Critically Endangered
  • Indian Vulture - Gyps indicus - Critically Endangered
  • Egyptian Vulture - Egyptian Vulture - Endangered

Vulture Poem

                       "The time has come," the Vulture said,
                       "To talk of many things,
                        Of Accidence and Adjectives,
                        And names of Jewish kings,
                        How many notes a sackbut has,
                        And whether shawms have strings."

From: The Vulture and the Husbandman

by: Arthur Clement Hilton 1851 - 1877

What can you do?

You can make people more aware of Vultures and the threats they are facing by sending Tweets on Twitter, sending messages on Facebook. Then you should visit the International Vulture Awareness Webpage and sign up. Anyone can help and it need not cost you a penny. Get some ideas of how you can help further by seeing what others have done.

Visit your local zoo and see what they are doing. If they are doing nothing at all then ask why not. At the very least they should be making their visitors aware of the plight that Vultures are facing in the wild.

Andean Condor



Submit a Comment
  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    7 years ago from South East Asia

    Thanks Shaddie.

  • Shaddie profile image


    7 years ago from Washington state

    Vultures are fantastic creatures, thank you for this hub!

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    7 years ago from South East Asia

    Thanks LetitiaFT

  • LetitiaFT profile image


    7 years ago from Paris via California

    Wonderful article. Just linked to it. I visit the four European vultures in the South of France every summer (two species were introduced, one came back on its own and one is an occasional visitor). I never tire of soaring, vicariously, with them. I will keep the date in mind...

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    9 years ago from South East Asia

    Thank you Sun-Girl

  • Sun-Girl profile image


    9 years ago from Nigeria

    Another funny article peter, which am glad to come across, as i will look forward for your hubs.

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    9 years ago from South East Asia

    feenix - the vultures play such a major part in some Asian religions...and in South America well as their niche in the natural order of things. Thanks for reading.

  • feenix profile image


    9 years ago

    Peter, this is a terrific hub, especially for me because I am fascinated with all types of animal life. Also, I grew up in southern California and vultures and buzzards are quite common in that area of the U.S. And vultures certainly do hold a very important place in the "natural order of things".

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    9 years ago from South East Asia

    Thanks Alastar - Happily people have become more aware of the problems facing vultures today. There is now legislation in some countries with regards to the substances in the animal carcases. The wind turbines are a different matter. As countries strive to become 'green' then they are overlooking the kills made by these massive turbines. There really does seem to be a conspiracy of silence coupled with a denial.

  • Alastar Packer profile image

    Alastar Packer 

    9 years ago from North Carolina

    Man Peter, this a superior hub in every way. Thank you for bringing this species to the fore in the way you have. Vultures are often looked down on because of their place in nature and some looking rather unpleasant. That King vulture is beautifully marked. Fortunately their protected in many places but what can be done about the substances in the animal carcasses they clean up and the wind turbines? The Palm nut species was a delightful discovery. Again, thanks so very much Peter.

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    9 years ago from South East Asia

    Thank you Eiddwen. They are a much misunderstood group of birds but number amongst my favourites.

  • Eiddwen profile image


    9 years ago from Wales

    A great hub and I must admit that I knew only the bare minimum on these birds..

    I hadn't realised that there is so many vibrant colours on some of them.

    Thank you for sharing this one with us because I for one have learnt a great deal.

    Take care



This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)