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Among the reasons behind the progressive decline of this species, is the understanding that for more than a hundred years it was considered a pest, being killed because of the misleading belief that it preys on livestock, when in reality it is a scavenger. Even today they are targeted by unscrupulous hunters, victims of lead poisoning by eating animals that have been shot or are intoxicated when eating animals that have been poisoned with the purpose to exterminate other pests.


Other elements that put their survival at risk are: badly sited wind farms, open dumps, collisions with human-built structures like power lines, the disruption of their resting and nesting habitat, collection of eggs and chicks by museum collectors, reduction of other relevant species like deer or guanaco that are part of their diet and the alteration of their natural habitat.





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