Population status of the Critically Endangered African White-Backed Vultures (Gyps africanus) in and around Wolkite town, Southwestern Ethiopia


  • Beselam Shiferaw
  • Afework Bekele
  • Bezawork Afework


Abattoir; Critically endangered; Population size; Threatened birds; Wolkite


African white-backed vultures (Gyps africanus) are critically endangered bird species which are commonly found in areas where rubbish food sources and roosting and/or nesting sites are available. This study assessed the population size and threats of the African white-backed vultures in Wolkite town abattoir and the surrounding dumping site from April 2019 to March 2021. A total count method was employed to assess the population size of the species and analyzed using descriptive statistics. A questionnaire consisting semi-structured open-ended questions was used to study the attitude and perception of the local community. During the study period, 192 field visits were conducted to count the population size of African white-backed vultures. Individual African white-backed vultures were counted in the abattoir and dumping sites. About 472 individuals (36%) were counted in the dumping site (Mean ± SD: 20±7.4; Range: 8-29) and 839 individuals (64%) were counted in the abattoir (Mean ± SD: 34±8; Range: 22-47). The age category in the dumping site constituted 269 adults and 203 sub-adults with a statistically significant difference (x2= 8.14, df =1, p< 0.05) between adults and sub-adult age groups. In the abattoir, 319 of the population were adults and 520 were sub-adults, a significant difference (x2= 48.2, df =1, p< 0.05) in the age groups in the area. Threats such as human disturbance and competition for food and roosting with domestic and wild animals were observed during the study period.