The ultimate recyclers

Portrait of a lappet-faced vulture standing in the plains of the Maasai Mara.

Although these guys often get a bad rap, they play a crucial recycling role in ecosystems. These magnificent birds can break through tough hides and eat skin and bone, and with their highly acidic stomachs, are able to digest rotting carcasses that others simply cannot digest. In so doing, they help prevent the spread of bacteria and disease, making a cleaner environment for all.

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