Sahara Conservation Fund – Niger Vulture Survey

For the quarter February to April 2021, the conservation project Nature Picture Library is supporting is the Sahara Conservation Fund’s (SCF) work in monitoring vultures in Niger. African vulture populations have declined by 80% in the last 30 years, and in some parts of West Africa by as much as 97% outside of protected areas.

Lappet-faced vulture at carcass, Termit Tin Toumma National Park, Niger.

 

The Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) was established in 2004 to address the largely ignored and catastrophic wave of extinction threatening the large birds and mammals in Africa. The mission of the Sahara Conservation Fund is to conserve the wildlife, habitats and other natural resources of the Sahara and its bordering Sahelian grasslands.

 

Niger’s 6 Vulture Species

Our donation will help fund SCF’s work in monitoring vultures in Niger. One of the most misunderstood birds of prey, vultures, through feeding on carrion, provide humanity with an immeasurable service. SCF’s teams in Niger and Chad monitor six species of vulture to assess threats to these declining populations. In fact, all six are priority species for conservation. The gallery below shows the six species of vulture which nest in Niger. Of these, four are critically endangered and the other two endangered. Click on any images for the caption.

 

Impressive migrations and the threat of traditional medicine

In Niger, this research confirmed that Egyptian vultures complete impressive migrations from Europe to overwinter in West and Central Africa.

A complex web of threats endangers the survival of Africa’s vultures. Accidental poisoning and use for medicine and rituals are the two most significant ones. SCR found in conversations with local communities that the use of vulture body parts in traditional medicine posed the greatest threat to their survival. As a result, SCF initiated an awareness campaign to explain the importance of these majestic birds to local population. This especially targeted traditional medical practitioners to reduce this threat.

How our donation will be used

Our donation will contribute to purchasing binoculars and funding the use of a vehicle for the monitoring work.

Find out more about vultures

If you would like to know more about Old World vultures, their behaviour and the threats they face, take a look at our Old World Vultures gallery. Here you will find more than 100 spectacular still images and video clips.

Whitebacked vultures gathering to feed.

Other conservation projects supported by Nature Picture Library

If you’d like to know more about all the other conservation initiatives we have supported over the years, and the totals donated, take a look at our Conservation Page.