What is a Vulture Restaurant?

A vulture restaurant is a site at which carcasses are placed regularly for the purpose of feeding vultures. Offal and entrails from hunting and game culling operations, waste meat products from butcheries and small abattoirs can all be fed to vultures. The birds become accustomed to feeding at these 'safe' areas and often visit them. This source of poison-free and chemical-free food is vitally important for vultures in certain areas.

 

Vultures and vulture restaurants have considerable value for ecotourism. They also provide an opportunity to observe and photograph feeding vultures and to collect valuable scientific information.

 

As such, vulture restaurants offer the farmer an opportunity to contribute to vulture conservation.

Selecting a site

When selecting a site for a vulture restaurant, the following points should be considered:

 

  • Preferably a remote part of the farm, away from human activity, but accessible for carcass delivery by truck or tractor.

  • An open area, on a gentle slope, allowing the vultures adequate space for landing and take-off. Perches in the form of a few large trees in the vicinity are an advantage.

  • As far away as possible from any power lines.

  • Where possible, the area (not smaller than 200 x 200 metres) should be fenced off the area , to prevent jackals or stray dogs from stealing carcasses.

  • The carcass should be opened along the abdomen and insides of the legs to facilitate easy access.

  • Every quarter, the remaining bones should be broken up into small pieces of about 10cm long and left for the vultures to take to their nestlings.

  • Old carcasses and hides should be removed and the area kept clean.

  • A shallow water trough should be supplied so that vultures can drink and wash after feeding.

 

Vultures Namibia can be contacted before a site is chosen for a restaurant, in order to assess the best area to place the site.

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