This month, Wildlife ACT accompanied Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife staff and members of Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) as they visited vulture nesting sites within Mkhuze Game Reserve and surrounds, to tag vulture chicks with patagial (wing) tags.
These plastic colour-coded tags each have a letter and number, the combination of which uniquely identifies the bird and the area in which it was originally tagged. These tags can then be read in the field, through binoculars, meaning that there is no need to re-trap the birds. The tags allow for the collection of valuable data including monitoring of breeding success, foraging distances, etc.
A total of 3 Lappet-faced and 4 White-backed vulture chicks were successfully tagged in this year’s ringing project. More than 50 vultures have been tagged in Mkhuze, HiP and Pongola since 2005.
Vultures truly have an undeserved reputation as being nothing more than “ugly scavengers”, when in truth they are magnificent and threatened creatures who play a vital role in the ecosystem. It is our responsibility to preserve the remaining populations of vultures within Southern Africa, and raise awareness about the status and importance of these vulnerable birds.