If you cart a dead wildebeest to the Serengeti and leave it there, it won’t be long before the vultures come to scavenge.
And if you put a camera inside said carcass, you’ll be able to see, first hand, what it looks like to get picked apart by these frightening birds.
And lucky you! National Geographic did this exact experiment, and just released the video of vultures frantically picking apart a carcass.
While vultures — and this video — are terrifying, they’re actually extremely important scavengers in the food chain and ecosystems.
The highly corrosive acid in their stomach allows them to eat and dispose of rotting animal carcasses, which can harbour diseases that are deadly to other animals, such as anthrax, cholera, and rabies.
By picking dead animals to the bone, they act as natural sanitation workers by cleaning up the environment and preventing the spread of whatever diseases the animals may have been infected with.
But sadly, vulture populations are declining in some parts of the world, especially in Africa. In the last 30 years, National Geographic reports, eight species of vulture in Africa have declined by a staggering 62%. They’re increasingly being poisoned by eating carcasses laced with pesticides, or are getting electrocuted by power lines or caught in wind turbines. They’re even hunted by witch doctors who believe their brains harbour magical powers.
To watch the entire National Geographic video in all of its frightening yet important glory, check it out here:
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