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52 endangered white-backed vultures poisoned in Zimbabwe - conservation group

The vultures are on the critically endangered list and conservationists said they play a vital role in the ecosystem.

FILE: This photograph taken on 20 September 2017, shows white-backed vultures in their enclosure at the Vulture Conservation Centre run by World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P) in Changa Manga, about 80km from Lahore. Picture: AFP.

HARARE - Fifty-two white-backed vultures have been poisoned on a farm south of Harare, Zimbabwe.

The vultures are on the critically endangered list and conservationists say they play a vital role in the ecosystem.

This tragedy occurred last week, though the details were only released late on Monday by BirdLife Zimbabwe. The conservation group said that the 52 critically endangered white-backed vultures were accidentally killed in Featherstone, a farming district south of Harare.

Seventeen of the birds were rescued and were being treated in the hope they could be released back into the wild.

BirdLife Zimbabwe did not say how the vultures were poisoned, but a source told Eyewitness News that the birds fed on a carcass of a cow that had been laced with a pesticide.

It’s alleged that the farmer had wanted to poison stray dogs.