Cambridge man wins chance to help save threatened vultures

PUBLISHED: 11:14 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:14 04 December 2017

Cambridge software engineer Josef Curry has won the chance to help with vulture conservation in Africa

Cambridge software engineer Josef Curry has won the chance to help with vulture conservation in Africa

ILIFFE

Josef Curry set to help out on important conservation project

A Cambridge man has won a place helping to save endangered vultures in South Africa.

Josef Curry was awarded a place on the programme following a competition organised by travel reward company Avios and conservation charity Tusk.

Mr Curry impressed the judging panel on the ‘Do More for Africa’ national competition, which is supported by singer Katherine Jenkins.

He will be working on a range of activities including vulture rehabilitation in the north and west Gauten provinces in South Africa.

Mr Curry, a software engineeer for Cambridge-based ProQuest, said: “I thought working with vultures would allow me to be the most hands on with the conservation.

“Sadly, when so many species are in a state of crisis I wasn’t very surprised at the extent of the issue. Vultures play an essential role in the food chain scavenging fresh 
meat before it can decay and spread disease. The dwindling numbers of the cape vulture could cause major issues.

“It’s hard to market a bird which scavenges meat from dead carcasses, but I think more and more people are understanding how important every aspect of an ecosystem is.

“I’m really looking forward to learning the different techniques used to protect and support the vultures.

“I think technology can play a major role in recording and improving conservation efforts and charity in general, with emerging technologies like blockchain being used to record how funds are being spent.

“Hopefully in the future I’ll be able to be involved in this.”

All Mr Curry’s flights and accommodation will be paid for and he will be given a Go-Pro camera to document the experience.

The cape vulture is under threat from human activities such as electrocutions, poisioning, land-use changes, a decrease in food avilability and exposure to toxicity through vetinary drugs used on other animals.

With only 2,900 breeding pairs, this species has declined across its range and is now extinct as a breeding species in Zimbabwe, Swaziland and now Namibia.

The trip is set to take place next year.

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