Scavengers are animals that eat dead animals. In the Maasai Steppe Ecosystem where the Wild Nature Institute's scientists work, there are many scavengers which feed on the numerous animals that die from natural causes, or clean up the carcasses after a predator is finished. Vultures, hyenas, jackals, and even predators like lions often scavenge food.
What would happen on the African savanna if there were no scavengers? Dead animals would pile up and take a long time to decompose, especially in drier climates where there are fewer decomposers such as fungi. Therefore, scavengers play an important role in the savanna ecosystem.
Avian scavengers like White-backed Vultures and Marabou Storks have no feathers on their heads - otherwise, their heads would get covered with blood and tissue from a carcass, which would then become a source of disease.
Scavengers also provide another service. Their presence helps scientists to locate recent predator kills so we can document life - and death - in the savanna.
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