Saturday, June 26, 2010

Smoke 'em if you got 'em

Luck is in high demand in South Africa these days with the World Cup going on down there. Apparently,luck is brought about by smoking vulture brains, and the conservationists are worried.

The custom stems from the traditional medicine known in South Africa as muti. The vulture brains are dried, ground up and then smoked in cigarettes which supposedly give the users visions of the future. In addition to dreams of winning lotto numbers or sports teams, practitioners say the practice can give users an edge on taking tests or help their business attract more clients. A tiny vial of vulture brains sells for around $6.50, according to an article from AFP.

Seven of the nine vulture species found in South Africa are endangered in that country, including the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) and the cape vulture (Gyps coprotheres), the latter of which, according to the Cape Vulture Conservation Project, has only about 380 breeding pairs left in the country. (Both species have stronger populations in some other countries.)

Read the rest here.

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