Updated 06:54 AM EDT, Thu, Apr 22, 2021

Vultures Strapped with GoPros Helping Peru Clean Up Illegal Garbage Dumps

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Peru is using vultures strapped with GoPros to track down the rising number of illegal garbage dumps.

The scavenging birds of prey roam freely above Lima, the Peruvian capital where 9 million people reside in, GlobalPost wrote. Peru endures an alarming shortage of official waste disposal plants, with prosecutions happening few and far between. Many people practice the illicit dumping of trash in front of their neighbor's homes, into a river, or over a cliff.

The South American nation is addressing this through a new initiative called Gallinazo Avisa, or "Vulture Warns" in English, GlobalPost reported. 10 of Lima's huge population of black vultures have been equipped with GoPro cameras and global positioning satellite gear to locate illegal garbage dumps.

The environment ministry teamed up with a public relations firm to release a video showcasing the new project. Watch it below.

The clip's English subtitle read: "On one hand, pestilence and disease are hidden among the filth. On the other hand, humanity placidly ignoring the danger that threatens to interrupt aspirations of development forever. Between them, it's only us, the cathartidae lineage. The [New World] vultures. The ones who always clean up the garbage. Even though nobody likes us."

Aside from keeping Lima clean, the initiative also intends to raise awareness about the downside of Peru's common practice of dumping waste in inappropriate places, GlobalPost added. Estimation indicated that 14 percent of the 6,000 metric tons of garbage Lima produces each day - 840 metric tons - is improperly disposed.

The Gallinazo Avisa homepage contains a live map of Lima providing viewers to track the vultures' passage in real time. It also shows a form for citizens to report illegal garbage dumps in their neighborhoods.

In addition, the "Act" page of Gallinazo Avisa's website features the vultures offering advice on recycling methods and appropriate waste disposal, GlobalPost further reported. The vultures can also be followed by name on various social media accounts.

"For 14 millennia, we have dealt with the trash, but now we can't do so any more on our own. For this reason, you need to know how to eradicate garbage and handle solid waste," the website wrote in the point of view of the vultures.

Kenya's Vultures Faces Extinction

A lion poisoning in Kenya resulted to the deaths of 11 critically endangered white-backed vultures, once again underlining the birds' possible extinction, Birdwatch wrote.

The lions and vultures died after feeding on a cow carcass laden with a pesticide assumed to be carbofuran, Birdwatch added. It is believed that Maasai herders put the poison on the carcass after lions attacked livestock that were grazing illicitly inside the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

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