Private travel &
conservation club
Members only
Established 1991
Africa Geographic Travel
Vultures poisoned
This image of poisoned vultures is not from this incident, and is used for illustrative purposes © Nic Proust
NEWS DESK POST by AG Editorial

Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) has announced today that they have recently identified a poisoning site with 537 dead vultures (comprising five species) and two tawny eagles. 

The site of the mass poisoning was identified as Wildlife Management Area CT 1 in the Central District. This former trophy hunting area is close to the Botswana and Zimbabwe border, near Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. Three poached elephant carcasses were laced with poison, which led to the vulture deaths.

The 537 dead vultures comprised 468 white-backed vultures, 28 hooded vultures, 17 white-headed vultures, 14 lappet-faced vultures and 10 Cape vultures. The DWNP law enforcement team attending the scene is working around the clock to decontaminate the area, and sampling of carcasses and the environment was done for further laboratory analysis. Members of the public in the vicinity of CT1 have been requested to report any further wildlife mortalities in their area, and to report any suspicious activities which may suggest environmental poisoning to the nearest wildlife office or the police.

Africa Geographic Travel

Populations of white-backed, white-headed and hooded vultures are ‘Critically Endangered’ according to the IUCN Red List, which means that they have an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. Lappet-faced and Cape vultures are classified as ‘Endangered’, which means that they are in danger of extinction through all or a significant portion of their ranges. Vultures face many threats to their ongoing survival, including mass poisoning incidents such as this, habitat and nesting site loss, collisions with power lines and pylons and poaching for the traditional medicine trade.

Compounding the loss to already threatened vulture populations is that this is the breeding season, and so many of the adult victims in this mass poisoning incident would have eggs or chicks, which will in all likelihood die.

Vultures provide an invaluable ‘clean-up’ service to the ecosystem, due to their unique digestive ability, and without them, the spread of disease from rotting carcasses would be rife.

Botswana map
The site of this mass vulture poisoning was at CT1, seen in the centre of this map.
Vultures poisoned

To comment on this story please join our PRIVATE TRAVEL & CONSERVATION CLUB. See details below.


  • Join our private travel & conservation club (mobile app and desktop) to enjoy significant benefits, including the best prices at Africa’s top lodges and networking with others like you. Find out more here.
  • Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to enjoy more stories like this. Subscribe here.
  • Travel with us. Travel in Africa is about knowing when and where to go, and with whom. A few weeks too early / late and a few kilometres off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity? Search for your ideal safari here, or contact an Africa Geographic safari consultant to plan your dream vacation.

We're the Africa Geographic editorial team – a diverse set of writers, editors, designers and social media natives, all united by our passion for this addictive continent.

Africa Geographic Travel