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Black Vultures: Protected but Troublesome

Kelly Colgan Azar
Flickr Creative Commons

One hundred years ago, the Migratory Bird Treaty was signed between the US and Canada. The treaty was intended to protect endangered birds, and allow them to travel unharmed. But, as StateImpact Oklahoma reports,one particular protected bird is causing a good deal of harm to Oklahoma farmers and ranchers.

Black Vultures don’t have many friends in Oklahoma’s ranchland. While most vultures are scavengers, black vultures also hunt for prey. Kevin Grant, of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture says some Oklahoma ranchers have lost more than $30,000 worth of livestock to black vultures. He says the birds used to be less common in Oklahoma, but their range started expanding 10 to 15 years ago.

Scientists aren’t exactly sure why the birds have spread. But the growth is sending Oklahoma ranchers scrambling to protect their calves and piglets.