The Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy would like to thank everyone who took action and spoke out on behalf of the vultures in Leesburg. We understand almost 100 people made comments. We received the following response on Thursday from the Leesburg Town Manager:
“Thank you for your recent email concerning the vultures in Leesburg. The Mayor and Town Council asked that I provide a current status to you of the USDA efforts to safely relocate the vultures from the Leesburg neighborhoods. The USDA has worked the past three days for about an hour to safely move the vultures from their current roosts. While some vultures have returned, the numbers appear to be decreasing. No vultures in the neighborhoods were harmed and the USDA will continue to focus on non-lethal methods to encourage their relocation. Other methods would only be used as a last resort, and do not appear, at this time to be needed.
The USDA will continue to monitor the situation daily and use the appropriate techniques to address this important health and safety matter for our town residents.”
Unfortunately, this response leaves out the fact that the USDA Wildlife Services brought a dead vulture with them and as one of their first steps, they hung it in one of the back yards. This method simply does not fit with our modern day values.
Looking forward, we will look for ways to engage the Town of Leesburg and other local communities in addressing issues earlier so situations like this are handled differently. That said, there is a lot of momentum (and the USDA Wildlife Services) behind the current methods.
Thank you so much for speaking out. I know it made a difference in raising the awareness of the Town Council on how people feel about vultures and wildlife. We appreciate Council Member Martinez specifically speaking out against the use of lethal methods.
If you would like to join us in our conservation advocacy efforts in addressing issues like this, please contact us.