International Vulture Awareness Day Date in the current year: September 7, 2024

International Vulture Awareness Day International Vulture Awareness Day, sometimes referred to as International Turkey Vulture Day, is observed annually on the first Saturday in September. It was created to raise awareness of the ecological role of vultures and their conservation status.

Vultures are birds of prey that scavenge on carrion instead of hunting live prey. There are two big groups of vultures: Old World vultures (23 living species) and New World vultures (16 extant species). The two groups are similar but not closely related. They owe their similarities to convergent evolution when species that are not closely related develop similar features independently due to adapting to similar environments.

Vultures are the only known obligate scavengers outside of the oceans, meaning that they feed on dead animals that they didn’t kill. Vultures are unlikely to attack healthy pray, but may kill sick or wounded animals.

Like other scavengers, vultures play an important role in ecosystems by getting rid of decaying organisms. Their highly corrosive stomach acid protects them from anthrax bacteria, botulinum toxin and hog cholera bacteria, allowing them to remove lethal bacteria from the environment.

Sadly, the vulture population has declined dramatically over the past three decades, particularly in India, Nepal, and Africa. The main cause of this decline is thought to be poisoning; for example, diclofenac, a widely used veterinary drug, is lethal to vultures feeding on dead livestock.

The steep decline in vulture population can lead to increased transmission of infectious diseases, drinking water contamination, and rapid growth of populations of other scavengers, such as feral dogs and rats. Because of this, vulture conservation is a matter of great urgency in many parts of the world.

International Vulture Awareness Day was started by the Hawk Conservancy Trust in England and the Birds of Prey Programme of the Endangered Wildlife Trust in South Africa. The two organizations teamed up to organize Vulture Awareness Days and later expanded their initiative into an international awareness campaign. The inaugural International Vulture Awareness Day was observed on September 5, 2009.

The main goal of International Vulture Awareness Day is to educate the general public about the biological importance of vultures, raise awareness of their conservation status, and highlight the contribution of vulture conversationalists to the preservation of vulture populations. In the Americas, International Vulture Awareness Day is sometimes referred to as International Turkey Vulture Day or simply Turkey Vulture Day because turkey vultures are the most widespread of the New World vultures (condors).

You can observe International Vulture Awareness Day by learning more about these amazing creatures and the challenges they are facing, checking out vultures at your local zoo, donating to a vulture conservation organization, and posting on social media with the hashtags #InternationalVultureAwarenessDay, #VultureAwarenessDay and #TurkeyVultureDay.

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International Vulture Awareness Day, International Turkey Vulture Day, international observances, environmental observances, vultures