Photos: Tami Walker Photography, kindly provided by Africa Albida Tourism
On the 1st of September 2018, we were delighted to host International Vulture Awareness Day in collaboration with our partner, Africa Albida Tourism.
The first Saturday of September every year is International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD). Started in 2006 by the Hawk Conservancy Trust and the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Birds of Prey Programme, plus a range of partners and associates, IVAD has become a global event supported by the IUCN SSC Vulture Specialist Group; in 2016, 164 organisations from 47 countries participated.
IVAD aims to create awareness about vultures as a whole, garner support among the public about the plight of vultures globally and highlight the work done by conservationists to protect these birds and their habitats. – www.vultureday.org
This year, we registered online to host an IVAD event, which took place at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, overlooking the Zambezi National Park. The event was publicized locally and across social media platforms, encouraging people to join in the events of the day.
The day kicked off with the Vulture Culture Experience, one of Victoria Falls’ most spectacular wildlife activities:
Each day, at 1:00pm, guests from Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and tourists from across town, gather, excited as hundreds of vultures circle above the lodge. It is time. A cooler box full of raw meat scraps and bones have been collected from nearby restaurants and Moses, the guide carries it down to a clearing in the trees, opens it and begins to throw the meat into the clearing. Suddenly, 400 vultures descend en-masse, jostling and flapping to get closer to the food. Moses just escapes the frenzy, and cameras whirl and click as the air fills with dust and our ears are filled with the sound of 400 squawking vultures desperate to get a scrap. This is what is known as a vulture restaurant: a place where vultures can feed safely, away from the threat of poison, and guests can get up close and personal to an incredible bush experience, whilst learning more about these magnificent birds.
Followed by a vulture conservation talk by our very own Wildlife and Research Manager, Roger Parry.
Meanwhile, the kids got a chance to learn more about vultures in our activity corner, led by our Conservation Educator, Adelaide Makomo.