They may not be the most cute or cuddly of animals, but vultures play an important part in the cycle of life. Without their clean up of decaying animal carcasses, the world would be a lot dirtier, smellier, and disease-ridden. About half of the world's 23 known vulture species are threatened with extinction, mostly from poachers, poisoned animals, and electrocution from power lines.
Did you know that New World vultures (those in the Americas) do not have a voice box and can only grunt or hiss? And the endangered Ruppell's griffon vulture is the highest flying bird ever recorded, at heights of 37,000 feet, which is the average height a commercial airplane travels! Vultures are a crucial, fascinating, and diverse species!
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