Vultures rank among the most vulnerable of Africa’s large birds and of the six true vulture species occurring in South Africa, all are now classified as either Critically Endangered or Endangered.
Video credits: Sven Musica | Love Africa Marketing with Wildlife ACT
Vultures play a critical role in protecting humans from the ever-increasing global risk of disease transmission. Without the presence of vultures, carcasses, including livestock, will remain exposed and undecomposed in the environment for weeks. This has a double negative impact – one is an increase in other scavengers, in particular feral domestic dogs in rural community areas, whilst the second is the resultant build-up of extremely harmful diseases and bacteria such as anthrax, botulism and rabies.
Current vulture initiatives being carried out by Project Vulture and partners in KwaZulu Natal:
- Population Stabilisation and Habitat Protection through monitoring of vultures to accurately identify vulture hotspots, establishing and securing vulture safe zones, the protection and monitoring of nest sites, rapid response to poisoning events, training field operatives on how to handle poisoned birds to ensure they are saved and reducing vulture exposure to lead poisoning by phasing out of lead-based ammunition and the safe disposal of lead contaminated carcasses.
- Education and Community Conservation through education programs, especially to the youth, about the role vultures play in the ecosystem and the value they provide, researching the drivers and demand for vulture parts in the traditional medicine sector, development of meaningful demand-reduction campaigns which will lead to the reduction of vulture poisoning for their body parts.
- Improved Advocacy through training field operatives on how to handle poisoning (crime) scenes to ensure convictions can occur, working with the provincial and judicial authorities to improve law enforcement and judicial processes, researching the economic value of the species to further advocate for their protection.
How Can You Help?
Help to support these critical projects and the organisations that work to protect vulture species by donating valuable funds towards the work being done on the ground.
Join Us in The Field
Wildlife ACT offers an opportunity for people from around the world to join them in the field, working alongside experienced Endangered & Priority Species Monitors, thereby contributing directly to the work being done to protect and conserve several threatened species, including vultures. Find out more via the link below.