African white-backed vultures are seriously endangered, with West Africa seeing a 95 percent drop in the bird's numbers. Zoologists at Trinity College Dublin think they have a perfect solution to help the birds: vulture restaurants. Dr Andrew Jackson, assistant professor in zoology and Adam Kane have published online in the journal Animal Conservation that urges the feeding of vultures, reports the Irish Times. "It might seem incongruous to haul a carcass out onto the savannah to feed hungry vultures, but what is the difference between that and our willingness to put out nuts and seed to feed the birds closer to home?" asks Kane in an online video.
The scientists note that vultures are a key part of the ecosystem, "cleaning up the carcasses left behind by lions and other large predators. They are champion recyclers of biomass and reduce the risk of infectious diseases such as anthrax." A vulture restaurant scheme in Swaziland "to supplement food availability when other sources of food were in short supply" has resulted in an increase in the birds' numbers "to the point that they may soon start moving them back into regions that have lost their vultures." As an idea for a restaurant, it's not bad. It's certainly better than this place, "the most unintentionally funny restaurant to open in London in a very long time."
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