Despite their usefulness in their habitats, a negative stigma has caused the Turkey Vulture population to face numerous threats. Rehabilitation centers see many injured vultures, with injuries ranging from gunshots to lead poisoning and car run-ins. The Wildlife Center of Virginia often will admit as many as 2 dozen vultures a year.
Mattie Libre, a local wildlife rehabilitator, has been rehabbing vultures for over 30 years. She takes in at least 12 vultures a year. Unfortunately, most of these vultures end up being euthanized for broken wings. Most injuries sustained to turkey vultures in her care are indirectly inflicted by humans through things such as car crashes. On occasion she treats them for broken legs and if they heal, she releases them back to the wild. According to Mattie, the turkey vulture is essential for nature. Their great sense of smell allows them to find carrion, which contributes to eradicating diseases from the carcasses, and Mattie cannot stress their importance enough. Turkey vultures contribute enormously to their ecosystems and play a key part in helping to keep their environment healthy and running as it should. Rehabbers like Mattie are invaluable in the conservation of this vital species.