Presumed killers? Vultures, stakeholders, misperceptions, and fake news

Sergio A. Lambertucci*, Antoni Margalida, Karina L. Speziale, Arjun Amar, Fernando Ballejo, Keith L. Bildstein, Guillermo Blanco, André J. Botha, Christopher G.R. Bowden, Ainara Cortés-Avizanda, Olivier Duriez, Rhys E. Green, Fernando Hiraldo, Darcy Ogada, Pablo Plaza, José A. Sánchez-Zapata, Andrea Santangeli, Nuria Selva, Orr Spiegel, José A. Donázar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Vultures and condors are among the most threatened avian species in the world due to the impacts of human activities. Negative perceptions can contribute to these threats as some vulture species have been historically blamed for killing livestock. This perception of conflict has increased in recent years, associated with a viral spread of partial and biased information through social media and despite limited empirical support for these assertions. Here, we highlight that magnifying infrequent events of livestock being injured by vultures through publically shared videos or biased news items negatively impact efforts to conserve threatened populations of avian scavengers. We encourage environmental agencies, researchers, and practitioners to evaluate the reliability, frequency, and context of reports of vulture predation, weighing those results against the diverse and valuable contributions of vultures to environmental health and human well-being. We also encourage the development of awareness campaigns and improved livestock management practices, including commonly available nonlethal deterrence strategies, if needed. These actions are urgently required to allow the development of a more effective conservation strategy for vultures worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere415
JournalConservation Science and Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


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