by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority has petitioned the Environmental Protection Ministry to allocate NIS 20 million ($5.6 million) a year to help protect endangered griffon vultures, the Times of Israel (TOI) reports. Vultures play a vital role in keeping the environment safe and clean.
According to the INPA, Israel’s griffon vulture population is declining dangerously not only due to shortages of habitat, food and water, but mostly because of poisoning, TOI reports. There are now only around 230 griffon vultures still existing in Israel in the wild.
Many of the vultures are being poisoned through eating carrion that has been contaminated with chemicals or veterinary drugs by farmers or ranchers who use poisoned carcasses to protect herds from wolves, jackals and feral dogs, TOI said.
“The vultures don’t need us, we need them, they are nature’s sanitizers,” explained Ohad Hazofe, the INPA’s Avian Ecologist told the Times of Israel. “Ninety-nine percent of the farmers observe the law,” Hazofe said. “It can take just one to put out poison and drive the vultures to extinction…There are no other species in which we invest so much.”
If the request for funding is approved, sanitation facilities will be built for the collection of meat waste, garbage collection points will be fenced off, more rangers will be hired to find and remove poisoned carcasses, TOI said.
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