A Poisoning in Ruaha

May 16, 2016

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Photo Credit: ©Aaron Nicholas/WCS Tanzania

Fifty-five white-backed vultures, a hooded vulture, a jackal, and a hyena died earlier this month near Tanzania's Ruaha National Park—part of an incident that has conservationists on the ground concerned.

It started when a lion attacked a cow belonging to some local Maasai people. In retaliation, the herdsmen poisoned the cow carcass—a harmful practice common in parts of Africa, though not known as much in this area.

As anticipated, a lion ate the cow and died. The vultures, jackal, and hyena ate the dead lions and died, too. One younger vulture on the scene (below) did not, though it got very sick. It was rescued by WCS Tanzania and nursed back to health by TANAPA veterinary staff.

All told, the incident, plus a few others, have conservationists concerned.

"To our knowledge, there have been few examples of poisoning in the Ruaha-Katavi landscape in recent years," the WCS Tanzania team wrote on Facebook, "but recent events suggest we may be underestimating this threat."

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Photo Credit: ©Aaron Nicholas/WCS Tanzania

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