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Have a bone to pick with the scraggy vulture? Just remember they’re vital as nature’s waste disposers – which is why their decline is very bad news…. Vultures, with their big, ungainly wings, beaky faces and fondness for scavenging on dead meat, have a terrible reputation. They are seen as harbingers of death, circling dying animals, ready to pick at decaying flesh. But they don’t deserve a bad press. They offer a vital service by feasting on carrion, protecting us from diseases spread by rotten meat and saving us the expense of cleaning it up. Yet their existence has been threatened thanks to us. In Southeast Asia, 98 per cent of vultures have been wiped out in 20 years. The white-backe... Full story

14 May