International Vulture Awareness Day

Saturday, September 5, 2015
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside the Bird House
at the raptor habitats

Vultures are vanishing around the world at an alarming rate. Of the 23 species of vultures in the world, 11 are currently threatened. These birds are declining due to poisoning from feeding on medicated cattle carcasses, power line collisions and loss of food and habitat.

Vultures play a vital role in the environment by cleaning up carcasses and preventing the spread of disease. Conservationists around the world are monitoring populations and implementing measures to conserve vultures and their habitats. See more about International Vulture Awareness Day.

Family Activities

Circle over to the Bird House for family activities. Activities take place at the new outdoor raptor habitats where you can see the Zoo's impressive king vultures and cinereous vultures.

  • Learn how vultures catch their prey, and how vomit plays a role in defense of predators. Fun facts: If faced with a predator after gorging on a carcass, vultures will vomit to lighten themselves for take-off. Vulture vomit is also incredibly acidic. If the vomit comes into contact with a predators face or eyes it will sting.
  • Compare your "armspan" with the wingspan of a vulture.
  • Check out feathers, eggs, bones and skulls from vultures at the biofacts station.
  • Hear keeper chats and observe the birds as they receive enrichment.
  • Stop by the "vulture restaurant" to see what our raptors eat at the Zoo.
  • Help bring awareness to vultures worldwide by taking a "selfie" in the life-size vulture nest and posting it to social media using #VultureDay.

How You Can Help Vultures

You can take action to help vultures by signing a petition to ban the veterinary drug diclofenac in Europe. The drug is used for treating treating cows and pigs in European countries. Vultures and eagles are at risk of death when they eat these contaminated carcasses. 

Withdrawal of diclofenac is the only option that completely removes the risk to vultures. There are effective alternative drugs that can replace diclofenac and that are safe to the birds. Last year, the Convention on Migratory Species strongly advised all countries to ban veterinary use of diclofenac.

In the 1990s this drug caused a 95% decline of vultures in the Indian subcontinent, which led to successful ban of veterinarian diclofenac in India, Nepal and Pakistan in 2006. 

Please sign this petition and help us to make this happen!