National Geographic
Saving Species in the Wild

Corinne Kendall and the White-Backed Vulture

The Problem

White-Backed Vulture (Gyps africanus)

Seeking to retaliate against predators, herdsmen across Africa often poison carcasses with pesticides. When vultures swoop in, they are served their grisly final meal.

The impact of poison, poaching, and habitat loss has been devastating. Without vultures wild carcasses rot, spreading diseases harmful to both wildlife and humans, and harming the balance of ecosystems.

Picture of white-backed vulture
Picture of Corinne Kendall tagging vulture
Photograph courtesy Corinne Kendall
The Solution

Corinne Kendall and staff from the Wildlife Conservation Society are satellite-tracking white-backed vultures in southern Tanzania where the population is still strong. The data they collect will reveal the range, breeding areas, habitat use, and likely causes of death for the birds. Armed with this baseline information, conservationists will be better prepared to protect all vultures in the area.

About Corinne Kendall

Picture of Corinne Kendall and white-backed vulture
Photograph courtesy Corinne Kendall

Vultures may not have many friends, but they have Corinne Kendall. She studied vulture biology and conservation at Princeton and now works for North Carolina Zoo putting her knowledge to work in on-the-ground (and in-the-sky) research in Tanzania. She’s also passionate about education, managing a teacher training program in Uganda and teaching at zoos and universities across the United States.

Ways to Help

You may not be able to save the whole world, but you can still make a difference—no matter where you live. Here are some ways you can take action today:
Picture of white-backed vulture

Photograph by Joel Sartore/National Geographic Photo Ark

  • Share this image and information. A simple tweet or post on your social media accounts can spread the word to hundreds and even thousands of others down the line.
  • Keep your eyes open. Vultures and other scavengers serve an important role in carcass removal, often right in front of drivers on the road. To cut down the number of animals killed by vehicles, stay on the lookout for this natural clean-up crew.
  • Give beaks a chance. Stand up for vultures! When you see them overhead or when they appear in movies or shows or somehow come up in conversation, take the opportunity to point out their impressive abilities and the critical role they play.

Learn More About Vultures

Picture of Darcy Ogada

From the Field  

National Geographic explorer Darcy Ogada has helped reveal the plight of poisoned vultures to the world. Read her harrowing firsthand reports.

Picture of 	Ruppell's griffon vulture

Get Closer  

Charlie Hamilton James’ photographs bring you eye to eye with these magnificent and often misunderstood creatures.

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‘The Ultimate Antiheroes’  

A photographer explains what it took to reveal vultures from a new angle, and how he came to love and admire the world’s most rapidly declining family of birds.

Help Save Wildlife

For the white-backed vulture and other wildlife, time is running out. Join National Geographic explorers, like Corinne Kendall, as they work to protect wildlife, preserve the last wild places on the planet, and push the boundaries of discovery.



Get Updates

Learn how you can help change the world. Get updates from our explorers in the field who are working to save the white-backed vulture, lions, elephants, and other threatened wildlife, and find out how you can help in our work to explore and protect the planet.

Follow Photo Ark

Keep up with Photo Ark and Joel Sartore by following the project on Facebook and Instagram.


Photo: Darcy Ogada by Simon Thomsett