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Scavenger conservation is in jeopardy, which risks amplifying current threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services. In our view, ill-informed policies for managing carrion left over from farming, hunting and fisheries are largely to blame. We call for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to help integrate such policies more effectively with their scientific implications as it draws up its 2020–30 programme (see Nature http://doi.org/cq8r; 2018).