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NEWS EXTRA: Hampshire based trust urges the world to look after vultures

Picture taken by Jonny Freeman

​​​​​​​Experts in Hampshire are raising awareness of the need to look after the world's vultures.

Staff at the Hawk Conservancy Trust are encouraging us to think of the birds - and to get rid of the common misconceptions surrounding them.

Ahead of International Vultures Awareness Day next month, Hannah Shaw from the trust says there are many good things they do for the natural environment:

"They provide a really important ecosystem service by cleaning up the environment.

"They do this as they survive solely by eating dead animal carcuses, as by eating these carcuses, they end up preventing the spread of disease."

The vultures based at the trust near Andover play a big part in the overall layout of the site, which also features owls, eagles and other birds and creatures.

The trust's Assistant Curator, Gary Benton, says vultures are birds we should be proud of - and he's keen to get rid of the misconceptions often associated with them:

"They're the dustmen of the countryside.

"When you look at all of the birds of prey, as far as power and predation is concerned, they're completely the opposite really.

"They're also incredibly social - they like being with one another."

Gary added:

"They're incredibly complex animals - and as far as a lot of birds of prey go, they sit towards the stack of intelligence.

"Because they're a social animal they do stick together, but they do have a very strict hierarchy."

Staff at the Hawk Conservancy Trust are running a literary competition to raise awareness of conservation efforts to protect vultures in the future.

You can find out more about the competition on the trust's website.

To take a look at one of the vultures living at the trust, watch the video below.

(Pictures and video taken by Jonny Freeman)

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