The Race is ON

To save Africa’s vultures from extinction:

Africa’s vultures are barreling towards extinction faster than almost any other animal group. This thread explores the international efforts to save them. Please donate


is the main threat, from two sources: human-wildlife conflict, especially loss of livestock to predators, and poaching. Electrocution and collision, traditional/superstitious use of body parts are other threats.

Indirect mortality:

The “domino effect” on vultures, of poisoning a carcass to kill a single livestock predator, is graphically illustrated in this WCS storyboard of a single poisoning event in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania – a vulture stronghold.

Targeted poisoning:

Nature’s clean-up crew discover carcasses quickly, tipping off anti-poaching units and helping them track and apprehend poaching gangs.  The gangs respond by poisoning the carcasses to kill nature’s whistle blowers.

500 dead vultures

One poisoned carcass can kill 500 vultures. >90% of 5 species lost in the last 30 years. 4 are IUCNRedList Critically Endangered (Ruppell’s, White-backed, White-headed, Hooded), 3 are Endangered (Lappet-faced, Egyptian, Cape).

Populations of many species are impacted by poisoning in Africa’s Rift Valley and savannahs, from lions to large waterbirds. BBC cut lion poisoning footage from Dynasties e3 because it was too heartbreaking They should have included it!


The biggest media exposure of the vulture crisis to date is in Aug 2018 National Geographic by Edwin Dobb with C Hamilton James, who also made this emotive video And remember @BBC_Earth‘s Marsh Pride?

Photo: Ruaha Carnivore Project

Vultures range widely

Tackling the problem requires many players at continental scale. Check out these tracks for vultures tagged by the Peregrine Fund in the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, and by WCS Tanzania in the Ruaha-Katavi ecosystem.

New analysis shows 80% of priority areas for vulture conservation lie outside protected areas. Even within protected areas, vultures are not safe from pervasive poisoning

In 2017, The Bonn Convention adopted the Africa – Eurasia Vulture Multi-Species Action Plan under the Raptors MoU, to promote nations to take actions that reduce threats to vultures, including bans on poisons like carbofuran and carbosulfan.

Photo: Nature Kenya

Many organizations work with communities to reduce poisoning from human-wildlife conflict and combat poaching around vulture strongholds.


Vultures help guides locate amazing wildlife experiences for their clients. Companies supporting conservation benefitting vultures include @Elewana, @CPSafari @AsiliaAfrica, @TakimsHolidays, @ThomsonSafaris, @HoopoeSafaris, @andbeyondtravel, @SerianCamp, Matembezi.


Photo: Elewana – Land & Life Foundation

Vultures need all this effort and more to avert extinction within 10 years. Champions of the Flyway are raising new funds and global awareness to scale up Nature Kenya and partners rapid response to poisonings and human-wildlife conflict resolution in the Mara ecosystem.


Photo: Nature Kenya

Rapid response systems works up to 100 vultures saved from feeding on poisoned hyena carcass! All funds raised go to this high impact work led by Nature Kenya in one of the last vultures strongholds.

Vultures & Hyenas 001

Champions of the Flyway  blends a 24hr bird race/birdathon with an awareness campaign Teams from around the world compete to raise the most money, awareness, and see the most species (the least important!) for a conservation cause.


Since 2014 Champions of the Flyway has raised $350,000 for BirdLife International Partners to tackle illegal killing of migratory birds around the Mediterranean. #COTF19 will help stop vulture extinction. Please help @BirdStudiesCan Team Canucks reach our $10K goal!


Special thanks to our major sponsors Vortex Optics Canada, Eagle Eye Tours, and everyone who has donated and spread the word so far. Please share this thread widely – there’s so much still to do! #GoVultures #flywaychampions #COTF19



Photo Credits: BirdLife International, Champions of the Flyway, Ron Ridout,