Gamblers in South Africa are said to be smoking vulture’s brains – part of traditional ‘muti’ magic – to help predict the result of World Cup matches.

Conservationists claim that the growth of ‘muti’ magic ahead of the World Cup has seen a surge in poaching of the endangered Cape vulture.

Mark Anderson, of BirdLife South Africa said: “The harvesting of the bird’s heads by followers of muti magic is an additional threat these birds can’t endure.”

A healer in Johannesburg’s muti market, told The Telegraph: “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.”

There is concern that muti magic could cause the extinction of the Cape
vulture in some parts of South Africa within half a century.

“Our research suggests that killing of vultures for so-called
‘traditional’ use could render the Cape vulture extinct in some parts
of South Africa within half a century,” said Steve McKean, from
KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife.

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