Getting up close and personal with one of God’s creatures can give you a new perspective. Cathy and I were at an animal rehabilitation center in South Africa several years ago. I was intrigued that the center had a rescue pen for vultures. There were very few positive thoughts I had about this scavenger.
They sought a volunteer to feed one of the vultures and I was chosen. You see pictured the vulture that landed on my arm and took the fresh meat that was between my thumb and index finger. I remember the strength of it’s talons on my arm. One talon slipped between the joint in the thumb and rested on my skin. I thought, I hope he doesn’t squeeze too hard or he will pierce my skin!
God created this bird with a special function. They will remove dead carcasses. They are on a list of animals like lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas. But they can clean up a bio hazard situation that would kill those other scavengers. Their stomach acid is so acidic that they can digest bacteria that is lethal to others. The dead animal can be infected with cholera or anthrax and the vulture can remove these bacteria from the environment.
When you see a committee of birds around a kill you can see them patiently waiting for a larger vulture to open the carcass. Each bird consumes a specific portion of the animal. We watched during a week’s period scavengers removing an elephant who had been struck by lightning. Nothing was left but a skull when we left Kruger National Park.
The bird jumped from my arm and scurried back to his perch. I was relieved but also fascinated by this massive bird. God’s creativity seems endless and filled with wonder. It seems that God has a special purpose for everything and everyone.
Cathy and Danny Sartin
Copyright © Danny Sartin. All Rights Reserved.
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Four decade veteran of youth ministry in churches, Youth For Christ and now is the Founder and Executive Director of Deeper Still Missions. Danny and his wife Cathy spend most of their time mentoring missionaries in Africa, Europe, Central America and North America. Future opportunities include South America and the Asia Pacific area.