Vultures Aren’t Just Ugly Birds


Interesting Facts in Easy English

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • scavenger: one that searches for or feeds on discarded or dead matter
  • carcass: dead body of an animal
  • take for granted: to not appreciate someone or something
  • antibiotic: a type of drug that kills off tiny, harmful organisms
  • extinction: the complete loss of a species
  • stench: a terrible smell

Vultures Aren’t Just Ugly Birds

Vultures are often ugly and smelly. These scavengers feed on fresh meat and rotting carcasses. Their bare heads and necks prevent bacteria from getting their feathers. The service vultures provide is often taken for granted. In India, vulture species have declined by up to 99% in recent years. An antibiotic drug given to cattle and other caused the near extinction in India. The missing birds of prey did not go , however. Without the vultures to remove the sick and dead animals, the stench of carcasses became unbearable. Rabies and other diseases became a major problem due to an increase in rats and wild dogs. Now that the drug has been banned for use on livestock, Indian vultures are the important job at hand.

Comprehension Questions

  1. Why do vultures have bald heads and necks?
  2. What caused the major decline of vultures in India?
  3. How did the loss of the vulture population affect humans?

Discussion Questions: The English expression “don’t judge a book by its cover” applies to animals such as vultures. What other animals have a bad reputation due to their odd appearance or behaviour?

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