Cape vultures face a number of threats and, as a result, their populations are thought to be declining throughout much of their range (1). A primary reason for these declines is poisoning (9). Farmers sometimes poison carcasses and leave them out to kill unwanted predators, such as leopards and jackals, but often the poison kills large groups of Cape vultures and other scavenging species that also feed on the carcass (5).
A decrease in carnivores within the vulture’s range, due to farming activities, has also been blamed for causing skeleton abnormalities in chicks. Large carnivores would break up the bones of carcasses into small fragments, and the Cape vultures would feed these tiny fragments to the chicks as a source of calcium (5).
Collisions with power lines and vehicles are more recent dangers for the Cape vulture, as well as hunting for traditional medicine, human disturbance, and drowning in water tanks (1). In Namibia, mismanagement of rangelands has led to severe bush encroachment over large areas, and recent research has indicated that this has an adverse effect on their ability to find food (6).