January 31, 2012

Hawk Mountain children's book distributed in Kenya

Intern Martha Nzisa spreads raptor conservation message in Nairobi

Spring 2010 intern Martha Nzisa reports this week that the children’s coloring book, The Vultures of Africa, which she developed at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, was distributed to Mercy Children's Home in Nairobi by Birdlife International Staff during their annual charity work.

"I have also sent many more to other orphanages in the country and it's changing the community's attitude towards vultures," she says.

To read an article posted on the BirdLife Community Page, click here. 
To download an English version of The Vultures of Africa, click here. 

“The success of this book is an excellent example of how Hawk Mountain, a small conservation organization in rural Pennsylvania, is playing a leadership role in African conservation and outreach,” says the Sanctuary’s Sarkis Acopian Director of Conservation Science Dr. Keith Bildstein. 

“Vultures face serious threats throughout most of Africa from people intent on poisoning predators, and in many places, populations of entire communities of these important scavenging birds are in free-fall,” Bildstein adds. 
The Vultures of Africa was conceived and produced at Hawk Mountain by Martha as her independent project, and designed as a fact-based learning tool for young people. The book was edited by Dr. Bildstein, Sanctuary graduate student Corinne Kendall, and Peregrine Fund Raptor Biologist Munir Virani. The Peregrine Fund in Boise Idaho was the first to sign on to this Hawk Mountain product, but since September 2010, South Africa’s Endangered Wildlife Trust, Birdlife International Africa, and, most recently, the Abu Dhabi-based Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, each have decided to use the book in their conservation work. A printed edition in English, produced by the Sanctuary’s conservation partners, is currently underway in East Africa. 

The Vultures of Africa is now being translated into both French and Swahili, and an English version is available for download at

The book includes information on 11 species of Old World vultures found across Africa, along with a coloring page for each species, accompanied by detailed natural-history information. Full-color pages show field marks and students can use the pages as a guide to correctly color each species. Additional images show the vultures both perched and flying. The book also allows children to learn the geographic distribution with the inclusion of a colored range map.

For more information or to download an English copy of The Vultures of Africa, please visit