Giving vulture conservation wings in Limpopo
May 2013. The Endangered Wildlife Trust's Wildlife and Energy Programme (EWT-WEP), in partnership with Eskom Limpopo Operating Unit, the EWT's Birds of Prey Programme (EWT-BoPP) and the Vulture Conservation Programme (VulPro), is proud to announce the launch of the Limpopo Vulture Project.
Tracking devices to be fitted
"The main aim of the project is to use Global System for Mobile (GSM) tracking devices to obtain further information about the movement patterns of the different vulture species in Limpopo. These data will enable Eskom to make informed and vulture-friendly decisions when new powerlines are planned and erected. The project will also look at the relationship between line faults on Eskom distribution lines and vulture movements, in an attempt to determine whether tracking data can be used to predict where line faults are likely to occur. This will enable Eskom to mitigate potential interactions pro-actively rather than reactively," commented Constant Hoogstad, Senior Field Officer of the EWT-WEP.
Nine vulture species found in South Africa
Nine vulture species occur in South Africa. Seven of these are listed in the South African Red Data List, ranging from Threatened to Critically Endangered. These are: the Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus (considered regionally extinct), the Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus, the Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres, the Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus, the Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus, the White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis, and the African White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus.
Limpopo Province - Vulture restaurant
The Limpopo Province falls within the distribution range of most of these species, with the exception of the Bearded Vulture. Furthermore, one of the most active vulture restaurants in the country can be found less than 20km from the centre of Polokwane on the Mockford farm. This vulture restaurant regularly attracts species such as the Cape, White-backed, Hooded and Lappet-faced Vultures and recent records of Palm-nut Vultures.