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International Vulture Awareness Day at the Zoo on Sept. 7

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Discover the important roles of vultures.

International Vulture Awareness Day at the Zoo on Sept. 7

A Cape Griffon vulture sunning in the Africa Aviary. Photo by Amy Landers/ABQ BioPark.

September 6, 2013

Have you ever seen a vulture eat? These bald birds aren't the most delicate diners, and they often end up covered in blood and guts. Although messy, vultures actually play a crucial role in the environment as the "clean up" crew. Visit the Africa Aviary on Saturday, September 7, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. to learn about these under-appreciated and endangered birds during International Vulture Awareness Day.

Learn about the Zoo's vulture species and their significance to the environment. Discover how biologists study these birds, and why vultures need our help.

"As some of the most well-known scavengers, vultures are a great way to learn about the important role of decomposers in nature," said Kathryn Venzor, BioPark Education Curator. "On Saturday, guests can enjoy discovery stations and vote for which bald bird they think is most beautiful. It's a fun day to explore how our actions matter when it comes to helping vultures and other animals."

The Africa Aviary features four Cape Griffon vultures (stars of yesterday's Photo of the Week) and one lappet-faced vulture. Zoo guests can also see "Ernie," a black vulture, in flight during the World Animal Encounters Show on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.  The Zoo's Andean condors are currently behind-the-scenes while their enclosure is repaired.

Vultures can be found across the globe, from the Americas to Europe, Africa and Asia. Although widespread, many vulture species are becoming endangered due to habitat loss, poaching and use of harmful chemicals. For example, in southern Asia, vulture populations have been decimated by Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug used in cattle that is deadly to vultures that forage on the remains of dead cows. Find out how you can help protect these important members of nature's clean-up crew.

Vulture Awareness Day is included with regular admission. For more information, email [email protected] or dial 311 locally (505-768-2000).

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