At least 18 Eurasian black vultures have been found poisoned to death or paralysis in a rural agricultural field, prompting an investigation by authorities.
Ten black vultures, protected under a South Korean law as a natural monument, were found dead this week in Cheongyang County along with a herd of spectacled teals which were also poisoned to death, according to a regional chapter of the Wild Animal Rescue Center.
The center rescued eight vultures which could not fly after being poisoned, for treatment at its shelter and called for an investigation by local government authorities and police into possible poaching because rice seeds containing agricultural pesticides were found scattered across the field.
Eurasian black vultures with a wingspan of more than three meters use Cheongyang as a middle stopover after passing the winter in the southern tip of the Korean peninsula.
The black vulture is a large raptorial migratory bird, well over a meter long. They tip the scales at up to 14 kilograms, making them one of the world's heaviest flying birds.
Like so many large raptors, they have suffered a huge decline in recent decades due to poisons intended to kill wild animals and habitat disruption from human development. There are only an estimated 4,500-5,000 individuals left.
Lim Chang-won = firstname.lastname@example.org