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The Bearded Vulture

The Bearded Vulture

Bearded Vulture

The Bearded Vulture is an integral component of the environment, performing an essential ecological role as a scavenger. They are an economical way of disposing of carcasses and in doing so they limit the spread of disease. The Bearded Vulture is a spectacular sight in its own right, the Bearded Vulture also has spiritual & cultural values to many cultures over the centuries (Project Vulture; 2015).

(Project Vulture; 2015)
(Project Vulture; 2015)

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New light for the Bearded Vulture

New light for the Bearded Vulture

New Bearded Vulture hide opened at Giants Castle in attempt to limit risk to this critically endangered species

 

The critically endangered Bearded Vulture.
The critically endangered Bearded Vulture.

The urgent need to mitigate the risk of extinction of the highly threatened Bearded Vulture species in South Africa, has led to various initiatives by conservationists to safe-guard existing vulture populations. These attempts include the construction and management of Bearded Vulture hides to create safe feeding areas, provide greater public awareness of the threats they face; and to conduct essential research into the species.

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Controversial wind farm in Lesotho gets the go-ahead

Controversial wind farm in Lesotho gets the go-ahead

The controversial wind farm proposed for Lesotho’s Maluti-Drakensberg has received the go-ahead from the Lesotho Government. Conservationists are concerned that this decision does not bode well for the future of vultures in the region or for the reputation of the fledging wind energy industry in southern Africa.

“Approval of the Letseng project is a source of great concern to BirdLife”, said Ken Mwathe, BirdLife International’s Africa Policy Programme Coordinator. “African governments must tread carefully on renewable energy projects by ensuring they do not threaten birds and biodiversity”.

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Lesotho wind farming development churns up survival problems for vultures

Lesotho wind farming development churns up survival problems for vultures

Two of southern Africa’s threatened vulture species are on a collision course with a controversial wind farming project in Lesotho that threatens to wipe them out.Adult Lammergeyer head detail

PowerNET Developments is planning to build the Letšeng wind farm on the north-eastern escarpment of the Drakensberg in Lesotho largely to increase power generation and distribution in the small mountain kingdom. But bird experts are worried that the proposed wind farm is located within critical habitat for the globally significant populations of the already-declining Bearded Vulture and Cape Vulture populations, which are “collision-prone” birds.

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Another Bearded Vulture dies

Another Bearded Vulture dies

In August 2009 a Bearded Vulture was captured by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife staff in the Underberg area and fitted with a tracking device as part of the ongoing Maluti Drakensberg Vulture Project lead by Ecologist Sonja Krüger. The project aims to obtain more information on the movement patterns of Bearded Vultures in southern Africa and the causes of mortality in order to address the threats to the species. The species is classified as endangered and population numbers are continuing to decline.

Olivia the Bearded Vulture taking off with her new tracking device in 2009

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Vulture project and Camera Trap!

Vulture project and Camera Trap!

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. 

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