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Vultures, the acid-puking, plague-busting heroes of the ecosystem

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As you can imagine, this vulture-themed TED-Ed is chock-full of illustrated carcasses and bones. It also mentions diseases throughout. For viewers who don’t mind a bit of that from your scavenging-birds-of-prey-content, watch this TED-Ed lesson by Kenny Coogan: Vultures, the acid-puking, plague-busting heroes of the ecosystem.

In the African grasslands, a gazelle suffering from tuberculosis takes its last breath. The animal’s corpse threatens to infect the water, but for the vulture, this isn’t a problem: it’s a feast. With a stomach of steel that can digest diseased meat and waste, vultures are essential to removing dangerous pathogens from ecosystems.

Explore the essential role vultures play in cleaning our ecosystems and why their conservation is key to a healthy planet.

vultures with a carcass
diseased animals
Plus dig deeper for more information with TED-Ed:

Although vultures have stomachs of steel and can safely eat diseased meat that contain anthrax, pneumonia, and rabies, vultures face a range of threats in many areas that they inhabit. Much of this is caused by poachers poisoning carcasses to prevent the vultures tipping off park rangers to the death of protected rhinos or elephants. Vulture species are under pressure and many species are facing extinction. We need to save these superheroes, so in turn they can save us.

To celebrate these scavengers, check out International Vulture Awareness Day events in your area.

vulture sanctuaries
Follow this with more videos about decomposition and ecology:
Whale Fall (After Life of a Whale)
• Dead stuff, the secret ingredient in our food chain
• Why isn’t the world covered in poop?

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