It’s hard to love vultures. Their bare-headed appearance, scavenging habits and reputation as the refuse disposal workers of the bird world rarely endear them to a public who prefer more conventionally attractive creatures. But amid growing fears that the birds are facing extinction, conservationists are calling for more to be done to save these unloved birds of prey.

If this seems like old news, that’s because for some species it is. In the early 1990s, observers in India began to notice that vultures, which usually gathered in huge flocks around animal carcasses, were declining at…



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