Monday, 29 September 2014

Hyenas, jackals feast at vulture restaurants

24 September 2014 Last updated at 12:18

By Jonathan WebbScience reporter, BBC News

"Restaurants" of dead meat set up for endangered vultures also attract an undesirable clientele of hyenas and jackals, according to a six-year study.

The research consisted of repeated "scat surveys" (dung counts) at two nearby sites in South Africa.

There was a surge in numbers of both the cheeky mammals, specifically at the site with extra food, which went back down again when the restaurants closed.

The scientists have recommended a new strategy to help boost vulture numbers.

The birds have been in decline worldwide for a number of reasons.

Specifically, the researchers suggest using fences to exclude the unwanted, earthbound customers, and dishing up the extra meat for the vultures in random locations instead of re-stocking a regular carrion pantry.

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