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Critically endangered vultures poisoned en masse in Botswana

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More than 500 critically endangered vultures have died of poisoning in Botswana, according to local officials.

A total of 537 vultures and two tawny eagles were found dead in the country’s north-east, though it’s unclear when.

The government suspects poachers who killed three elephants had laced their carcasses with poison.

Conservationists have called the incident one of the largest documented killings of the threatened species.

The government said the mass poisoning was “dangerous and harmful to the environment” and it urged members of the public to “desist from such illegal acts”.

The area has reportedly been decontaminated and samples taken for a laboratory analysis.

Vultures circling a carcass can be seen from miles away, so poachers often poison them to prevent their activity being tracked, reports the BBC’s Africa correspondent Alastair Leithead.

Most of the birds were white-backed vultures, which are classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

SourceBBC NEWS

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