Crushing carcasses at feeding stations appears to reduce deforming bone diseases in Cape vulture Gyps coprotheres chicks in South Africa

  • Published source details Richardson P.R.K., Mundy P.J. & Plug I. (1986) Bone crushing carnivores and their significance to osteodystrophy in griffon vulture chicks. Journal of Zoology, 210, 23-43


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide calcium supplements to increase survival or reproductive success

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Provide calcium supplements to increase survival or reproductive success

    A before-and-after study on a northern South African pig farm (Richardson et al. 1986) found that the incidence of osteodystrophy (a bone-deforming disease) in Cape vulture Gyps coprotheres chicks declined from an average of 17% in 1974-6 to 2.5% in 1983, following the establishment, in 1977, of a feeding station where carcass skeletons were crushed to provide small bone fragments. A total of 1378 chicks were examined over the study. The authors note that vulture colonies on game reserves not ranches had far lower levels of osteodystrophy (0-1%), probably due to the presence of bone-crushing mammals such as spotted hyenas Crocuta crocuta.


Output references

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, terrestrial mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 17

Go to the CE Journal

Subscribe to our newsletter

Please add your details if you are interested in receiving updates from the Conservation Evidence team about new papers, synopses and opportunities.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust