FALCONER Daisy Bessant is heading to South Africa to help save vultures from extinction as part of her work with Knowsley Safari Park.

Daisy, 18, has been surrounded by vultures all her life.

After growing up with her family’s business Gauntlet Birds of Prey Eagle and Vulture Park at Knutsford, Daisy now also works at Knowsley Safari Park, and is using her knowledge and love of the birds to research the species in Johannesburg.

Wild vultures will be wiped out of Africa in the next 10 to 15 years if no action is taken, as they are targeted by poachers because they act as a signal to rangers that an animal has been killed.

Poachers are lacing elephants and rhinos with cyanide when they kill them for their ivory tusks, which is transferred to the vultures.

Daisy said: "I have grown up with vultures all my life, and despite what people think they are loving creatures.

"The ones I've known a long time act almost like a guard dog and walk ahead of me to protect me.

"I will hate seeing these beautiful birds suffer in Africa, but the research and help I can offer is more important.

"These birds suffer from poaching and power lines, and more needs to happen to stop them becoming extinct.

"They are often seen as ugly and dirty, but I want people to see how clever, instinctive and beautiful these birds are. I'm excited to get involved and do what I can to help."

Daisy will be documenting her journey via Knowsley Safari Park You Tube.