Botswana poisoned vultures are ‘critically endangered’

Conservationists have called the poisoning of more than 500 critically endangered vultures in Botswana one of the largest documented killings of the threatened species, reports the BBC’s Alastair Leithead.

The Botswana government said it’s thought to have been caused by poachers who killed three elephants for their ivory and laced the carcasses with poisonous chemicals so they wouldn’t be found.

Vultures circling a carcass can be seen from miles away, so poisoning them is a way to hide what the poachers have done.

Most of the 537 birds found dead were white-backed vultures, which are classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Seventeen white headed and 28 hooded vultures were also killed. They are also critically endangered.