the trend is being blamed for killing off South Africa's vultures
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Some in South Africa are turning to vultures for visions of lottery numbers, picks for horse races or just for higher test scores. But they are not just spotting them circling in the sky, rather they are smoking their brains as a means of obtaining good luck.
The Agence France-Presse reported that the trend is being blamed for killing off South Africa's vultures. The brains, and other items, are sold at vendors of traditional medicines in the country.
"Vultures are scarce. I only have one every three or four months," said Scelo, a healer in Johannesburg's market for traditional medicine. "Everybody asks for the brain. You see things that people can't see. For lotto, you dream the numbers."
The brain is dried and mixed with mud and then smoked like a cigarette, according to one traditional healer.
Vulture's excellent vision, which lets them spot carcasses from afar, leads some to believe that their heads will bring visions of the future.
The birds are endangered and protected by law, but that has not stopped the poaching.
"Traditional use as it is currently happening is likely to render vultures extinct in southern Africa on its own within 20-30 years," said researcher Steve McKean.
Wildlife experts also warn that hunting could intensify as gamblers seek an advantage when betting on the World Cup in South Africa, reported The Guardian .