South Africans 'smoke vulture brains to bring lottery luck'


And, wildlife experts have now warned that vultures face extinction in South Africa because of this growing trend for smoking their dried brains in order to have "a vision of winning lottery numbers", 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.

In fact, according to them, within 20 to 30 years the birds could be hunted to extinction for their use in "muti" or traditional medicine.

Rolled into a cigarette or inhaled as vapours, vulture brains can also help at the horse races, boost an exam performance or lure more clients to a business, believers say.

Scelo, a healer in Johannesburg's muti market, was quoted by the British newspaper as saying, "Vultures are scarce. I only have one every three or four months. Everybody asks for the brain. You see things that people can't see. For lotto, you dream the numbers.
"We make the brain dry and mix it with mud and you smoke it like a cigarette or a stick. Then the vision comes."

He prescribes mainly vulture heads, which he claims bring visions of the future, endowing users with the bird's excellent vision that helps them fly out of nowhere to descend on carcasses.

Seven of the nine species of vulture are already considered endangered. And, Steve McKean, a wildlife researcher, said: "Traditional use as it is currently happening is likely to render vultures extinct in southern Africa on its own within 20 to 30 years.".

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