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Burkina Faso - Hooded Vultures threatened with extinction!!!

The Hooded Vulture - Necrosyrtes monachus - formerly common in public places, and regularly seen on the rooftops of houses and public buildings, are now rare and missed by many in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso. Has Ouagadougou become an inhospitable city to these birds? What happened to them anyway? These questions have inspired the creation of a documentary film under the auspices of Naturama (BirdLife in Burkina Faso), the Association des Techniciens Indépendants du Cinéma et de l’audio-visuel (ATIC) with funding from BirdLife International and the North England Zoological Society.

Vultures occupy an important place in the culture and lifestyles of people in Burkina Faso. In traditional medicine, they are used to ward off evil spells while they are good environmental cleaners. In addition, Hooded Vultures are good indicators of the quality of the urban environment. So many are their benefits that people are expected to protect these birds. However, the reality is different based on what has happened in the last few years in Ouagadougou. According to the Director of Wildlife and Hunting in Burkina Faso, Mr. Urban Belemsobgo, the population of hooded vultures, has declined between 1974 and 2004 from 26 to 6 individuals in every 5kms. “Five major factors are likely to be leading to this alarming and deplorable situation”, explains Oueda Georges, Director of conservation department of Naturama. “These are: the poisoning of vultures, habitat loss, the collisions with electric power lines, hunting by poachers and the measures taken by the aviation agents to prevent bird strikes”.

It is therefore urgent that action is taken. That is why this film has been produced in order to alert the public and government about threats to vultures. “The documentary comes at a time when the Hooded Vulture has just declared as Endangered in the newly released 2011 IUCN Red List. This is as a result of its observed decline across the range in Africa”, says Kariuki Ndang’ang’a of the BirdLife Africa Partnership Secretariat. Idrissa Zeba, the Executive Director of Naturama, urges people in Burkina Faso to be aware of the threats to the Hooded Vulture and to create all suitable conditions for the hooded vulture so that it can reassert itself in the city of Ouagadougou.

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