Doing their best to clean up their reputation – vultures equipped with cameras have become the main protagonists of a creative social media campaign aimed at raising awareness about illegal rubbish dumps in Lima.
Besides its four official landfill sites, the Peruvian capital has numerous illegal dumps, where an estimated 20 percent of its trash ends up – an open-air environmental and health hazard.
“We have ten vultures wearing satellite transmitters equipped with a GPS. We also have a bigger group of vultures, just over 20, that are only equipped with a wing tag. In all, the project is scheduled to last two years,” explains vulture trainer Alfredo Correa.
The vultures are the perfect bird to take on such a task. No preparation was needed: the birds flock naturally to the landfill sites to feed. They have been trained to fly back to their keepers after each outing. The video footage is then posted online.
A TV and radio campaign has been launched to promote the programme, which depicts the birds as heroes who are helping clean up the city. While the scavengers are mostly dreaded by Lima’s residents, it’s hoped they might take a different view from now on.
“Generally the majority of people have a negative view of the vulture, which is often associated with death and other negative things. People don’t realise that they play a very important role in nature, especially in Lima as they help control a small amount of the large quantity of rubbish we dump,” says Correa.
Since the project was launched, other Peruvian cities have reportedly expressed interest in joining