With spring just around the corner, farmers should keep an eye out for black vultures. The risk to livestock and producers increases during this time due to birthing season.
While black vultures pose a risk to livestock and producers, they also are an important part of the ecosystem. Greater understanding of black vultures and investigating what factors place some farms at a greater risk than others are being researched by the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services.
Marian Wahl, a PhD student at Purdue, is spearheading this initiative. One aspect of the project is to create a clear set of diagnostic criteria that will help tell the difference between animals that have been killed by vultures and animals that have been scavenged directly after death. To accomplish this, Purdue is looking for donations of livestock that have been killed by black vultures.
If interested in donating, here’s what you should do:
“One of the biggest hurdles is the lack of sufficient behavioral data,” said Greg Slipher, INFB’s livestock specialist. “Data will help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other organizations understand and develop programs that will help control black vultures. Participating in this opportunity can help provide the much needed data to begin tackling this growing problem.”
Remember that black vultures are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, so it’s illegal to shoot them without a permit. Control measures include hazing with red lasers or hanging a black vulture carcass (real or fake) in the area.
Any questions related to black vultures can be sent to Greg Slipher at email@example.com.