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📸 by @michael.laubscher

Vultures are often overlooked as lowly scavengers, however, they are a key component to maintaining healthy ecosystems.

Their role as nature’s garbage disposals enables them to keep the environment clean and free of contagious diseases.

These birds have extremely corrosive stomach acid that allows them to consume rotting animal corpses without getting sick.

These scavenged leftovers are often infected with anthrax, botulinum toxins, rabies, and hog cholera that would otherwise kill other scavengers.

Even though they perform an extremely important ecosystem service, these animals carry a reputation for being a bad omen (for instance, a group of vultures is referred to as a “wake”) and are often persecuted and even poisoned by humans.

Unfortunately, the crucial environmental role these birds fill is only truly felt when they are removed from an ecosystem.

The conservation and protection of these birds is of the utmost importance, by ridding the ground of dead animals, vultures prevent diseases from spreading to humans and animals alike.

Fun fact: vultures can use their highly corrosive stomach acid as a defence mechanism by vomiting it onto the ground or the intruder itself.

The smell alone is usually enough of a deterrent – if not, the acid is strong enough to burn the skin of anything that gets too close.



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