Vultures have in the past been seen as vermin which have spread disease and killed livestock and have been ruthlessly wiped out as a result. Their numbers have been further reduced by a dwindling habitat and demands of the traditional medicine trade. But vultures form a vital link in the food web of any ecosystem and need to be protected. Maliba Trust, with the help of KZN Wildlife, Endangered Wildlife Trust and the community, have started a vulture restaurant in our park. (A vulture restaurant is an open place where dead carcasses of domestic and/or wild mammals are placed with the intention of providing a food source for vultures). This assists in the protection, monitoring and conservation of vultures or, more specifically the Bearded Vulture. It will form a source for eco-tourism and education, not only allowing the community to observe and learn about these birds but also in providing a valuable attraction for birders and photographers.
The latest update is the change of the sites from our original one, in the valley, to a higher position on the slopes to the side of the lodge. The Bearded Vultures are in the area according to their GPS data supplied from KZN Wildlife, however we have not seen any of these magnificent birds on the carcass as yet. Due to the location of the site we invested in a Bushnell Camera Trap to catch any activity around the site. This equipment is widely used in reserves to capture animal movement and uses a passive infrared heat-and-motion detector to trigger the camera when something passes in front of it. Infrared flash models (invisible to wildlife) also allow for night time photos….which have revealed some exciting things in the Lesotho mountains! Correct positioning of the camera is vital and requires a few test runs. To date we have not captured a Bearded vulture but have managed to catch a mongoose as well as a our herd of eland! We will keep you updated with new photos as they come in on http://www.facebook.com/MalibaLodge