VulPro NPO Vulture Conservation, Research and Rehabilitation

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CV-Breeding-Protocol-Press-Release-2014-Thumb.jpg Let-Vultures-Soar-2014-thumb.jpg


NEWS FEED
13 September 2014
Press Release - Cape Vulture Breeding Protocol Published

The Protocol can be accessed from our Media and Publications tab, or Downloaded here.
Copyright VulPro 2014


29 August 2014
Let Vultures Soar
Our latest publication aimed at land owners and farmers, highlighting the role they paly in vulture conservation and giving sound advice on how best to go about it.


12 August 2014
VulPro Membership
Support VulPro, learn about our threatened vultures, and contribute to healthy human and vulture populations for generations to come. Become a part of our team with an annual VulPro Membership. We offer 4 levels of involvement to suit every interest. Each level offers rewards which will get you involved in VulPro and the important conservation work we are doing.
More Information


23 July 2014
2014 Vulture Seminar - 6 & 7 November at VulPro
1 & 1/2 day seminar will highlight current research and pressing threats affecting all southern African vultures. Presentations will discuss captive-breeding efforts, rehabilitation, wind-farm development, power line collision mitigation, veterinary and other drug uses, and generating farmer involvement in conservation.


08 July 2014
VulPro Flyer
The latest copy of the VulPro Flyer is out - Enjoy!


04 July 2014
HELP SECURE THE NEXT GENERATION OF CAPE VULTURE THIS NELSON MANDELA DAY
VulPro’s Cape vulture captive-breeding program is expanding! We need more Rhus lancea trees to provide our breeding birds with nesting material. Rhus lancea branches are non-toxic to the birds and the moist leaves regulate humidity for proper egg incubation.



You can help by donating Rhus lancea trees over 1.5 m tall, or 20 to 40L.

This Nelson Mandela Day (18 July 2014), come help donate and plant trees to keep our breeding birds happy and healthy.



WHEN? 10AM to 12PM
WHERE? VulPro, North West Province
(see www.vulpro.com for driving directions, -25.710994° 27.952720°)
WHO? All are welcome
WHAT? Help us plant trees for nesting material, please donate at least one Rhus lancea tree per group
Contact Maggie with any questions at: mhirscha@gmail.com



29 May 2014
Evening Talk by Jemima Parry Jones
Author, Biologist, and Raptor Conservation Specialist
International Birds of Prey Center, UK

RAPTOR CONSERVATION AND LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE ASIAN VULTURE CRISIS

Thursday, July 31, 2014
Presentation at 6:30 PM (please arrive 20 minutes early)
Bring-and-Braai to follow
(We will provide charcoal and tea/coffee. Just bring your meat and one side dish for sharing.)
Venue: VulPro
Cost R55/person
Limited Space Available
RSVP to Maggie by July 24th July at mhirscha@gmail.com


20 May 2014
Support our captive-breeding research AND get rewarded!
Announcing the launch of Maggie’s IndieGogo campaign, a website raising funds for GPS units which will be deployed on our captive-bred chicks in February 2015.

To contribute, learn more, and receive project updates, check out the website



20 May 2014
Show your support for vulture conservation!
10% of the proceeds from every sale goes directly to VulPro. Chalkboards are made by D&M Made with Love, a South African innovative décor company specializing in custom color chalkboards. Beautifully crafted, and made in South Africa, this 59 cm tall chalkboard has double sided tape at the back to easily mount to any wall. Available in black, grey, pink, blue, lime green and red. The board cost R150.00 (R35.00 shipping nation-wide in South Africa).
The VulPro custom vulture chalkboard is now for sale at 2 locations:
Hello Pretty
Mzansi Store
Visit D&M Made With Love here:
Website
facebook
Twitter


14 April 2014
Southern African Awareness Campaign
Follow this link to read the trip report from our Southern African Awareness Campaign

11 March 2014
VulPro UK Launches their website
Established by Tracey Murray in 2014, VulPro UK is dedicated to spreading awareness of the plight of vultures, the work VulPro is undertaking, and raising funds for VulPro.

22 Dec 2013
GoPro: The Cape Griffons

A Short Film Shot by the Creative Department from GoPro at VulPro using GoPro cameras.
09 Dec 2013
The VulPro Flyer
The Dec Issue of our Newsletter, the VulPro Flyer is now online. There are links to all copies of our past newsletters under the MEDIA, LINKS & PUBLICATIONS Tab above.
01 Nov 2013
VulPro Open Day
VulPro will be open to the public on 7 December 2013 from 09h30 till 12h30. R50/adult, R20/child under 12
Activities for kids and adults. Click on Image for further information.

 

Your donations to help the plight of Vultures will be hugely appreciated and will go a long way to ensuring the continued survival of these wonderful birds.

More Info

 

 

Contact us to see how you can play an important role in vulture conservation and other projects in South Africa.

 

More Information

 

 

Kerri Wolter
Mobile: +27 82 808 5113
Fax: +27 86 505 6470


Walter Neser
Mobile: +27 76 593 9849

 

 

VulPro membership is available for personal or corporate

 

More Information

 

 

 

 



Lapped Faced VultureExecutive Summary

Vultures form an important ecological component of our natural environment, cleaning up dead carcasses and decreasing the spread of some diseases. The relationship between vultures and people is also a venerable one – vultures played roles in some early societies, including the Egyptian and the Hindu societies; vultures continue to be used as symbols or metaphors in modern societies; and vulture body parts are used in muthi.

Today, vultures face an unprecedented onslaught from human activities. They have to cope with electrocutions and collisions with electrical structures, poisonings, land-use changes, a decrease in food availability and exposure to toxicity through veterinary drugs, to list just a few of some of the challenges facing vultures today.

Vultures, positioned at the top of the food chain, are an indicator of the health of the environment below them – and dependent for their survival on a healthy environment. As such the work of the Vulture Conservation Programme ("VulPro") work is intended and expected to impact on many other aspects of the environment – beyond vultures.

VulPro approaches vulture conservation in an integrated, multidisciplinary fashion, with the benefits from the programme accruing to both vultures and society at large. VulPro combines education and good science, with networking, capacity building and knowledge generation. The veterinary disciplines of toxicology, pharmacology, clinical pathology and medicine are combined with the science of cell-phone telemetry and the banking of genetic resources, with the goal being to positively influence the well-being of our natural resources to the ultimate benefit of society. In this regard, VulPro engages in a number of interrelated activities, and uses a variety of resources, in endeavouring to meet its objectives.

GPS tracking devises are used to determine foraging and home ranges of a large number of vultures in Southern Africa. The output from this research allows for the monitoring of capture-release free-ranging vultures and for the mapping of areas for further actions (such as community education and the safeguarding of vulture food through the monitoring of vulture restaurants).

VulPro conducts and facilitates educational talks and interaction with both tame and wild vultures at the rehabilitation and educational centre in Hartbeespoort, and regionally, through the follow-up of vulture home range and feeding studies.

Undertaking and publishing studies determining drug residues in carcasses, and lobbying communities and society for appropriate actions to be taken to benefit our natural environment and to ameliorate the effects of drugs on vultures are part of VulPro's work. This work includes proactive efforts to determine, evaluate and monitor veterinary drugs or chemical residues in carcasses that are made available to vultures; building dedicated laboratory models for predicting avian toxicity; using mass awareness campaigns to involve and get feed-back from the public; determining the home ranges of vultures, so as to better understand their foraging habits; and collecting appropriate biological samples for current and future project use.

Through partners, such as the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria, potentially harmful veterinary substances similar to diclofenac, can be identified and monitored. Where necessary, VulPro can engage in or support lobbying for the removal or responsible use of these substances.

With the many threats vultures are facing throughout Southern Africa, vulture rehabilitation has become an essential part of the work of VulPro. Collecting grounded, injured, poisoned and disabled vultures around South Africa, special emphasis within the Gauteng, North West and Limpopo Provinces, VulPro is able to save many vultures that would otherwise have met untimely deaths. By doing this, VulPro is in a position to release those vultures that are fit and healthy and to keep in captivity those that cannot be released, for breeding, research and educational purposes. Vulture populations are in many instances so depleted that the rehabilitation and release of individual birds can be ecologically and genetically significant. At present, VulPro operates the only facility approved by Gauteng Nature Conservation and recognised by North West Nature Conservation for vulture rehabilitation.

This multidisciplinary and networking programme looks at conservation holistically, by focusing on the vulture at the top of the food chain and gaining new knowledge on the environment below and so also impacting on society's well-being.

Objectives:

  • Vulture rehabilitation
  • Collect injured, grounded and disabled vultures
    On-going monitoring of released vultures using patagial tags and GSM/GPS devices
  • Distribution, dispersal and foraging ranges of vultures
  • Tracking of the Magaliesberg Cape Vultures using patagial tags and GSM/GPS devices
    Monitoring of vulture restaurants and recording vulture re-sightings i.e. patagial tags and photographs
    Tracking African White-backed and Cape Vultures which frequently visit Mankwe Nature Reserve, adjacent to Pilansberg
    Monitoring and tracking Cape Vultures from the Manoutse breeding colony near Kruger National Park
    Recording and keeping a database of all vulture re-sightings related to the B-series of patagial/wing tags
  • Cape Vulture breeding monitoring (four largest colonies globally):
  • Magaliesberg
    Kransberg
    Blouberg
    Manoutsa
  • Veterinary and ecological research related to vultures:
  • Researching the effects of lead and NSAID's on vultures
    Surveying and studying vulture restaurants
    Researching the role vultures play in the spread of diseases
    Ongoing research related to providing veterinary treatment for vultures (i.e. for snake bites, poisonings etc.)
  • Cape Vulture breeding and reintroduction programme (Namibia)
  • Creating a safer environment for vultures in Namibia.
    Rebuilding the Cape Vulture population in Namibia.
    Monitoring the Cape Vulture population in Namibia as part of a national avian scavenger population monitoring programme.
    Providing an effective information, outreach, education and information sharing platform for vulture conservation as well as facilitating collaborative conservation support in Namibia and the region.
  • Vulture educational and awareness programmes
  • Holding talks and public displays
    Conducting workshops and training
    Assisting with farmer/vulture conflicts

 

Your donations to help the plight of Vultures will be hugely appreciated and will go a long way to ensuring the continued survival of these wonderful birds.

More Info

 

 

Contact us to see how you can play an important role in vulture conservation and other projects in South Africa.

 

More Information

 

 

Kerri Wolter
Mobile: +27 82 808 5113
Fax: +27 86 505 6470


Walter Neser
Mobile: +27 76 593 9849

 

 

VulPro membership is available for personal or corporate

 

More Information

 

 

 

 

Vulture Hide at the VulPro feeding site



Situated at the vulture centre and approximately 12 metres away from the vulture restaurant, the vulture hide offers both experienced and inexperienced photographers and bird watchers the opportunity to view and photograph vultures in close proximity. The cost is R80 per person and the hide can comfortably accommodate 4 photographers. The hide is available through bookings only, please e-mail for bookings.

Please note, the entire vulture centre, as you enter the premises is a non-smoking facility both inside and outside buildings as and when you enter our gate.





Notes for Photographers:
If you are using a body with a full frame sensor, the ideal lens is between 300 and 400mm, the birds are large and landing close, a 400mm will often clip off a wingtip or two.
If you shoot with a crop / 1.6 sensor, the ideal lens would be between 200 and 300mm.

NB When visiting vulpro, please call us to open the gate as there is no other way for us to know you are waiting at the gate. Make a note of our numbers now, or save it in your phone.

If you wish to bring food for the birds, it is essential to discuss this with us in advance. Please do not bring bones, scraps or 'offal', we use whole carcasses, that are free of veterinary medications and lead . If you are bringing food, you will need to arrive by or before 7am, as you cannot go got to place food at the feeding site once birds are present. We usually put food out the evening before.

 

Your donations to help the plight of Vultures will be hugely appreciated and will go a long way to ensuring the continued survival of these wonderful birds.

More Info

 

 

Contact us to see how you can play an important role in vulture conservation and other projects in South Africa.

 

More Information

 

 

Kerri Wolter
Mobile: +27 82 808 5113
Fax: +27 86 505 6470


Walter Neser
Mobile: +27 76 593 9849

 

 

VulPro membership is available for personal or corporate

 

More Information

 

 

 

 

 
SHOP

The following Images are available as prints on Canvas. 100% of the net income is used for vulture conservation.
We would like to thanks the photographers for making their images available for this cause. If you have images you feel are suitable for this cause, and willing to donate them, please contact us.
Prints can be mailed internationally. If there is an image of ours you have seen that you would like that is not shown here, please be in touch so that we wan arrange this. Prices do not include frame / block but can be arranged if image will be collected not shipped. We can also arrange for the image to be printed at a location near you.

Flair by Walter Neser
Cape Griffon
Taken on 30 April 2013 at Mockford Farm in Limpopo.
1800mm x 900mm Stretched Canvas Print R10 000
Limited to 5 numbered prints only

"Mustached Vulture" by Walter Neser
Cape Griffon
Taken on 10 May 2013 at Kransberg in Limpopo.
Selected as one of 12 best images from 2013 by The Peregrine Fund
1000mm x 500mm Stretched Canvas Print R4 000
Limited to 10 numbered prints only

The Restaurant by Walter Neser
Taken 2012 at VulPro.
1200mm x 600mm Stretched Canvas Print R3 500
Limited to 10 numbered prints only

More to be added soon, so please check back or enquire

 

You can help!



Perhaps you are not able to assist financially but have some of these items at home or know of friends, family members etc who have and who are willing to donate them to this worthy cause…

Wish-list for equipping the Brooder and Incubator Rooms:

• Grumbach incubator (enquire for details)
• Brinsea Octagon incubators (enquire for details)
• Red light globes (enquire for details)
• LED Light Bulbs (yellow light for lighting the rooms)
• Oven lamp globe (25 Watt, tubular, clear, 230V)
• Basic wall mount globe fixtures
• Multiple thermometers (ambient, wall mount or stand up)
• Multiple humidity meters
• 2 small electric heaters for rooms
• Electric heating pads
• Small scale for egg weights - max needed 500g, accurate to .5 grams
• Med scale for food and chick weights - max needed 1kg, accurate to 1 gram
• Multiple thermometers (ambient, wall mount or stand up)
• Multiple humidity meters
• Mini refrigerator
• 2 small electric heaters for rooms
• Electric heating pads
• Airconditioner

• Worktop surfaces – smooth (laminate, etc) not porous surface (i.e. wood)
• Hand washing station: Stainless Steel deep sink / basin with tall mixer paddle tap
• Large and small storage containers, including small drawer sets
• Wall Cabinets
• No-slip pads (usually used under area rugs)
• White board
• Clip boards

• 25lt drums distilled water
• F10 disinfectant
• Disposable gloves
• Paper towels
• Hand soap refills
• Laundry detergent

• Hand towels
• Tiny paint brushes
• Stainless steel tongs (25cm+ long)
• Basics for office – pen, scissors, stapler, rubber bands
• Empty spray bottles
• Hot water bottles
• 1mL syringes

Additional items needed at VulPro:

• 6m Refrigirated Shipping container / Cold Room for Carcass Storage

• Gum boots (size 6 and size 9)

• Work overalls

• Rain coats

• Heavy Duty hose pipe – 30m long or more

• Heating pads

• Infrared light or ceramic heating bulbs x 2

• Scrubbing brushes

• Steel brushes

• Butchers knives

• Outside hard brooms

• 90% shade netting

• Data projector

Winch

High pressure cleaner

• Mist sprays for each enclosure with water piping for connection

 

Your donations to help the plight of Vultures will be hugely appreciated and will go a long way to ensuring the continued survival of these wonderful birds.

More Info

 

 

Contact us to see how you can play an important role in vulture conservation and other projects in South Africa.

 

More Information

 

 

Kerri Wolter
Mobile: +27 82 808 5113
Fax: +27 86 505 6470


Walter Neser
Mobile: +27 76 593 9849

 

 

VulPro membership is available for personal or corporate

 

More Information

 

 

 

 

EDUCATION



VulPro engages in public awereness programmes and education campaigns in South Africa and further afield. The largest event annually is International Vulture awareness Day, which draws in excess of 500 visitors to the center on the first Saturday of September.

School groups visit the center and are given a 30 minute formal power point presentation in our educational facilities followed by close-up encounters with 5 vulture species as well as other large birds of prey and owls. Each child is given a vulture booklet and interactive sheet to take home and/or complete in their classrooms.

We also offer unique school experiences to schools whereby we take a live vulture into the classroom and offer the school, its pupils and staff a close-up educational experience. We also provide educational material during these visits together with a formal power point presentation, structured to meet the pupils age groups. For further information please contact us.

Vulpro act as host and supervisor to students for their practical year, supplying accomodation, stypend and hand on conservation and rehabilitation experiance, as well as research projects.

VulPro Species Poster VulPro Threats Poster

THE VULTURE
Cape VultureA vulture is an easily recognizable bird with its large size, bald-head, hooked bill which feeds on carcasses and majestically soars through the skies.

A particular characteristic of many vultures is the bald head, devoid of feathers. This is because a feathered head would become spattered with blood and other fluids, and thus be difficult to keep clean.

Vultures are found on all continents except Australia and Antarctica.

Vultures have always evoked strong emotions from people; from being seen as symbols of divine qualities, clairvoyant whereby they are able to 'see' into the future to being misunderstood and called 'ugly, disease riddled' birds. Vultures have for years been persecuted and misunderstood by many, it is for this reason that they are continuously declining at a rapid rate. Their habitat and unique behaviour is unknown, or misunderstood and so is their reason for existence.

Old World vulture
(Source: www.wikipedia.com)

Old World vultures belong to the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards and hawks. They are not at all closely related to the superficially similar New World vultures and condors, and do not share that group's good sense of smell. The similarities between the two groups are due to convergent evolution rather than a close relationship. They were widespread in both the Old World and North America, during the Neogene.

Vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals. Old World vultures find carcasses exclusively by sight.

Humans have made astonishing advances in technology and communication in recent years; however we are dangerously close to losing valuable species on our continent due to ignorance and mismanagement. Today, vultures all over the world are facing similar threats:

Poisoning
Electrocution
Habitat destruction
Declining food availability
Affects of NSAIDs in the vulture food chain
Direct persecution
Drowning in farm reservoirs
Disturbance at colonies
Illegal collection for traditional medicine

IMPORTANCE OF VULTURES

Vultures and other avian scavengers play a very important ecological role in clearing the veld of carcasses. By rapidly consuming remains of dead animals, vultures can prevent these carcasses from acting as host to various diseases that may spread to livestock. They can also alert farmers to dead stock, in this way potential disease outbreaks can be avoided.

Vultures play a vital role in helping landowners get rid of carcasses which are unfit for human consumption and which would normally have been 'hygienically' disposed of by burning or burying.

The Cape Vulture

Scientific Name: Gyps coprotheres (feces-eating vulture)

English: Cape Griffon Vulture, Cape Vulture, Kolbe's Griffon

AFR: Kransaasvoël

"coprotheres" is derived from the Greek word "kopros" meaning dung or manure and "thera" meaning to hunt or capture. "Gyps" is Greek for a vulture.

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Falconiformes

Family: Accipitridae

Genus: Gyps

Species: coprotheres

Binomial name: Gyps coprotheres (Forster, 1798)

The Cape Griffon or Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres) is an Old World vulture. It is endemic to southern Africa, and is found mainly in South Africa, Lesotho and Botswana. They nest on cliffs and usually lay one egg per year.

Distribution, Habitat and Status

Restricted to southern Africa with main colonies in South Africa. Critically endangered in Namibia, extinct as a breeding species in Zimbabwe and endangered in Swaziland. Approximately 10 000 individuals' left and 2900 breeding pairs. Breed and roost on cliff face ledges.

Distinctive behaviour

Roosts and builds its stick-nests in colonies of several hundred birds on high cliffs, which become streaked with white droppings. Sunbathes and soars around the nest cliffs, gliding out over the surrounding country to search for carrion. Descends in numbers to feed at carcasses, often with other vulture species. Fights over food with harsh, grating calls or stands with wings outstretched. Visits regular bathing pools and baths after eating.

Appearance

Heavy, pale, long-necked vulture. Pale cream with black flight feathers. Line of dark blobs along greater wing coverts. Bill and cere black; eyes yellow, skin blue. Juvenile darker brown with pink neck skin and dark eye. Very large (about 95cm tall, 2,55m wingspan). Weight average 11kgs.

Reproduction

The female lays a single egg, and shares the responsibilities of incubation and feeding with her lifelong mate. They breed in winter. In March and April the birds pair up and either re-occupy old sites or build a new nest from grass, plants and sticks. The incubation period is about 56 days and duties are shared by the parents. By July most of the birds are caring for recently hatched chicks and waiting patiently for their partners to return from foraging. It will be four months before the chicks venture out of the nest to take their first flight. Even after this they will frequently return to the nest for feeding.

 

Your donations to help the plight of Vultures will be hugely appreciated and will go a long way to ensuring the continued survival of these wonderful birds.

More Info

 

 

Contact us to see how you can play an important role in vulture conservation and other projects in South Africa.

 

More Information

 

 

Kerri Wolter
Mobile: +27 82 808 5113
Fax: +27 86 505 6470


Walter Neser
Mobile: +27 76 593 9849

 

 

VulPro membership is available for personal or corporate

 

More Information

 

 

 

 

SPONSORS

We are extermely gratefull for the support and loyalty shown by OUR SPONSORS, without them, what we do would not be possible!
If you would like to get involved, or know of a corporate body who may be interested in supporting our efforts, please contact us.
COLLABORATORS

VulPro has research and or conservation collaborations with the following organizations:
University of Pretoria, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences
Prof Ara Monadjem
All Out Africa Research Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Swaziland
GDARD - GAUTENG NATURE CONSERVATION
DR CRAIG WHITTINGTON-JONES
BirdLife Botswana
National Zoological Gardens, Pretoria
Johannesburg Zoo

 

Your donations to help the plight of Vultures will be hugely appreciated and will go a long way to ensuring the continued survival of these wonderful birds.

More Info

 

 

Contact us to see how you can play an important role in vulture conservation and other projects in South Africa.

 

More Information

 

 

Kerri Wolter
Mobile: +27 82 808 5113
Fax: +27 86 505 6470


Walter Neser
Mobile: +27 76 593 9849

 

 

VulPro membership is available for personal or corporate

 

More Information

 

 

 

 


CONSERVATION & RESEARCH

History & Background

Ever since studies were first made of bird’s species within southern Africa, the status of the Cape Vulture has been the subject of much debate; with most of the earlier records for the species being somewhat anecdotal. With the formation of the EWT’s Vulture Study Group in 1973 an attempt was made to collate everything that had been recorded for all the breeding colonies and roosts in southern Africa which led to the accumulation of both published and unpublished references for the species range. There are many examples where individual researchers, or groups of interested persons have monitored individual breeding colonies or regions (e.g. Borello and Borello 2002; Brown and Piper 1988; Benson, Tarboton, Allan and Dobbs 1990 etc.). However, the monitoring of Cape Vulture colonies has become such a massive task that the Cape Vulture Task Force (CVTF) was formed at a meeting held at Sterkfontein Dam in the Free State, South Africa on Tuesday 14 March 2006. It was decided at the time to initiate conservation action as well as to monitor the largest and most important breeding colonies across southern Africa, starting with the 2006 breeding season. It was also decided at the time that some of the smaller and more peripheral sites should also be the object of conservation action monitoring.

The Namibian Colonies:  Unfortunately through the irresponsible use of poisons, the Cape Vulture has become critically endangered in Namibia where only 12 known wild Cape Vultures are left in the entire country.

Vulture monitoring

Although the Cape Vulture has been the recipient of much conservation action it is still declining and we resolved to put in place a conservation programme around each of the breeding colonies to try and halt this decline. There are three important elements to monitoring a Cape Vulture breeding colony: documenting its physical characteristics, estimating the number of breeding pairs and estimating a number of demographic parameters, the most important of which is breeding success:

  • Determine the number of active breeding pairs within the population in each region of identified key species.
  • Assess productivity (fledglings) of key species in each region.
  • To identify and mitigate against potential threats that may impact on vulture populations in the region.
  • To identify the need for, promote and implement appropriate conservation actions to the benefit of vultures where necessary.
  • To enhance the public profile of vulture conservation, the Vulture Monitoring Project and its implementing partners.

GPS Tracking

Over 40 individual birds have been fitted with GSM/GPS Tracking devices, collecting data on the range and behaviour, which is used to identify "hot spots" for mitigation of dangerous power-lines, identify active vulture restaurants and feeding / foraging range and behaviour as well as identify cause of mortality.

Vulture rehabilitation

While the actual reason for the poor survival of the species is not known, it has been speculated that problems such as pylon injuries, malicious poisonings, muti killings and insufficient food source could have all been contributory. In an effort to decrease the continual loss of birds, various conservation programmes were established, one such effort is the rehabilitation of injured, grounded and disabled vultures.  The idea being to try and release all abled specimens back into the wild as soon as possible. This will ensure viable breeding vultures are not lost from the wild population as well as increase our understanding of veterinarian problems in the species.

Awareness & Education Campaign

A mass awareness and education campaign will be used to firstly create more awareness as to the vulture’s predicament and its ecological role in the environment and secondly to mobilise the public, birders and ornithologists to participate in the re-sightings of tagged vultures for the study on home and foraging range of vultures in southern Africa.

Cape Vulture Breeding & Reintroduction Programme

We will release captive-bred birds of three different ages here in the Magaliesberg mountains, South Africa. These chicks have been raised (or will be raised in 2014) at VulPro. Each bird will be released in February of 2015 fitted with a solar-powered GPS tracking unit. For one full year after release we will monitor the integration of the released vultures into wild populations by observing ranging and roosting behaviors (using the GPS units), competitive behaviors (at VulPro’s vulture restaurant), and weight gain/body condition.

This is the first study to look at the survival of captive-reared Cape vulture chicks. The project plans to expand supplementations in South Africa with the long term goal being the reintroduction of the Cape vulture to Namibia where it is now extinct as a breeding species.

How quickly will these chicks explore new areas?
How do their behaviors differ from wild birds?
(Long term) Will they return to the release site to breed?

Captive-breeding and reintroduction programs have proven successful for vulture populations in Europe and India. However, all ‘vultures’ cannot be lumped into a single category. Cape vultures behave differently than the Griffon vulture in Europe, or the Oriental White-backed vulture in India, and cannot be managed (housed and bred) in exactly the same way. This study will identify the best age to release the Cape vulture and determine age-specific patterns in ranging and competitive behaviors.

Specific objectives are:
1. Supplement the existing Magaliesberg Cape vulture population with viable, free-ranging captive-bred individuals which require minimal long-term management
2. Identify the best age to release Cape vultures to maximize vulture survival and minimize conservation organizations’ resource use
3. Identify age-specific patterns in ranging behaviors and range accumulation of released captive-bred Cape vultures
4. Produce a baseline data set of wild vulture competitive behaviors
5. Identify age-specific patterns in competitive behaviors of wild and captive-bred Cape vultures
6. Publish the protocols used for egg collection, artificial incubation, and housing of Cape vultures

SUPPORT OUR RESEARCH
First and foremost, this campaign is raising money to ensure each chick can be released with a GPS unit. We have four chicks that are healthy and ready for release in February 2015 and we plan to raise at least two more chicks for release this year.

If you want to contribute to our research, or simply want to learn more, visit Maggie's Indiegogo website, which offers rewards for donating to Cape vulture conservation.
We want you to become a part of our team.

Thank you for your support!

 

Your donations to help the plight of Vultures will be hugely appreciated and will go a long way to ensuring the continued survival of these wonderful birds.

More Info

 

 

Contact us to see how you can play an important role in vulture conservation and other projects in South Africa.

 

More Information

 

 

Kerri Wolter
Mobile: +27 82 808 5113
Fax: +27 86 505 6470


Walter Neser
Mobile: +27 76 593 9849

 

 

VulPro membership is available for personal or corporate

 

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Rehabilitation Center

Open to the public by appointment only, the vulture rehabilitation centre is situated just outside of Hartbeespoort dam, below the Magaliesberg Mountains on a small holding totaling 9,4 hectares. (Did you know the Magaliesberg Range is one of the oldest mountain range in the world?).  School tours are offered and community service projects are also available on request. Family picnics can also be arranged. Prices are kept to a minimum charge with the full amount going straight back into vulture conservation:

R50 per adult

R20 per child under the age of 12

The Centre’s aim is to release all flightable, fit and healthy birds back into the wild as soon as possible and to provide a safe haven for those unable to be successfully released.  The birds housed on a permanent basis fall into our educational, breeding or research programmes. Unfortunately we cannot accommodate all birds of prey and these are then handed over to reputable organisations such as the Johannesburg Zoo for their display and breeding programmes.

The Centre is occasionally visited by our wild resident Cape Vultures which roost along the cliffs of the mountains, as well as the occasional vagrant Marabou Stork. Other smaller wild bird species to be seen visiting the centre include; black-breasted snake eagles, yellow-billed kites, crimson breasted shrike, speckled pigeons, waxbills, thrush, and cattle egrets to name a few.

The Centre is home to a large number of birds of prey although our focus remains on vultures:

  • Cape Vultures
  • African White-backed Vultures
  • Lappet-faced Vultures
  • Palm-nut Vultures
  • Bateleur Eagles
  • Black Eagle
  • Andean Condors
  • Steppe Buzzard
  • Yellow-billed Kite
  • Spotted Eagle Owls
  • Giant Eagle Owl

For additional variety, we also have some very friendly horses

Directions:

Pretoria:  Take the Van der Hoff Road (R514) which begins at Hermanstad (Pretoria) and travel towards Hartebeespoort / Brits
Just before Hartebeespoort you will pass a butchery called Byernes, then another butchery called Byerkorf on the right hand side, a couple of meters thereafter you will pass an Excel garage on your left.  Less than 1 km, you will come to a dirt road on your right called Boekenhoutkloof. Turn right into Boekenhoutkloof and travel along this dirt road for about 800m. You will pass three other entrances on your right.  You will then come to No. 121 on the right hand side, large wall with our signage.

Fourways passing Lanseria:   Pass the Lanseria airport and continue until T-junction at Broederstroom, At the intersection, turn right and pass Pilandaba. Go over robots and at the next stop street, turn left and continue until t-junction where there is a slip way to the left. Turn left and continue, passing Xanado estates. Pass the robot and then 2 stop streets. At the 3rd stop street turn right at the total garage (on right) and continue,until t-junction.  At the t-junction, turn right and carry on straight along this road for approx 5km or so.  You will then come to a resort on the left called Bonanza. Shortly after this you will see a sign for Boekenhoutkloof on the left hand side where you will turn into. Travel along this dirt road for about 1km or so. You will pass three other entrances on your right.  You will then come to 121 on the right hand side with a large wall and signage.

Please be sure to make an appointment to visit the center by mailing us.
NB When visiting vulpro, please call us to open the gate as there is no other way for us to know you are waiting at the gate. Make a note of our numbers now, or save it in your phone.

Animal Adoptions:
Flaps & Ziggy the Cape Vultures
Adopted by: Jika Africa (www.jika.co.za)

Lilo the African White-backed Vulture
Adopted by: the Van de Biezen Family

Brizzle the Cape Vulture
Adopted by: the Vardakis Family

 

Your donations to help the plight of Vultures will be hugely appreciated and will go a long way to ensuring the continued survival of these wonderful birds.

More Info

 

 

Contact us to see how you can play an important role in vulture conservation and other projects in South Africa.

 

More Information

 

 

Kerri Wolter
Mobile: +27 82 808 5113
Fax: +27 86 505 6470


Walter Neser
Mobile: +27 76 593 9849

 

 

VulPro membership is available for personal or corporate

 

More Information

 

 

 

 



Media & Press

Vultures in Crisis

Power lines pose threat to SA vultures - Engineering News, 7 Feb 2014

Magaliesberg Vultures Face Extinction - Kormorant, 22 June 2012

Vultures are worth saving

Africa Geographic

Leer by Aasvoels se Restaurant - Die Beeld, 31 Mei 2011

Vrywilligers veg vir Aasvoels - Die Beeld, Sept 2010

Vultures - Birds & BirdingBirding, Jan 2011

NSAID Ketaprofen Fatal for vultures 24/03/2009

New veterinary drug could collapse SA’s vulture population

Vulture_Conservation - Africa_Wild, Nov 2008

Africa at a Glance - Africa Geographic, July 2008

WWF - Vulture Evaluation Project Launch

Vulture Enclosure Project - Eskom Media Release, Feb 2008

Press Release - Vulture Programme – Impacting Society - R&L Reserve

Science-VultureArticle

Conflict between Wildlife and Veterinary Medicine

Video Library

"Path into the Future"

"I Believe I can Fly - Madza Wildlife Fund Advertisment"

"Vultures Chose Me"

"BBC News - Vulture Decline could affect Humans"

"BBC News - Poachers Target Vultures in Africa"

Publications

A. Monadjem, K. Wolter, W. Neser & A. Kane
Effect of rehabilitation on survival rates of endangered Cape vultures
Animal Conservation 17 (2014) 52–60 © 2013 The Zoological Society of London

W. Louis Phipps, Kerri Wolter, Michael D. Michael, Lynne M. MacTavish, Richard W. Yarnell
Do Power Lines and Protected Areas Present a Catch-22 Situation for Cape Vultures (Gyps coprotheres)?
PLOS ONE | www.plosone.org October 2013 | Volume 8 | Issue 10 | e76794

W. Louis Phipps, Stephen G. Willis, Kerri Wolter, Vinny Naidoo
Foraging Ranges of Immature African White-Backed Vultures (Gyps africanus) and Their Use of Protected Areas in Southern Africa
PLOS ONE | www.plosone.org January 2013 | Volume 8 | Issue 1 | e52813

V Naidoo, K Wolter, I Espie and A Kotze
Vulture rescue and rehabilitation in South Africa: An urban perspective
Journal of South African Veterinary Association, 2011, 82(1), pp24–31

Craig Whittington-Jones, Kerri Wolter & Sean West
Monitoring of cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres) breeding colonies in the Magaliesberg, south africa: 2007-2009
Vulture News, 60, 2011, pp. 6-12

Naidoo et al. 2008
Blood Chemistry and Hematology of African White-Backed Vultures (Gyps africanus)
Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 44(3), pp. 649-654

Turnbull et al
Naturally acquired antibodies to Bacillus anthracis protective antigen in vultures of southern Africa
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, 75:95–102 (2008)

Wolter et al
Monitoring the success of released rehabilitated vultures
Vultre News, 57, 2007, pp. 73-74.

Swan et al
Toxicity of diclofenac to Gyps vultures
Biology Letters, doi:10.1098/rsbl.2005.0425

Kerri Wolter, Craig Whittington-Jones & Sean West
Status of Cape Vultures (Gyps coprotheres) in the Magaliesberg, South Africa
Vultre News, 57, 2007, pp. 24-31.

Naidoo et al
The pharmacokinetics of meloxicam in vultures
J. vet. Pharmacol. Therap. 31, 128–134, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2885.2007.00923.x.

Swan et al
Removing the Threat of Diclofenac to Critically Endangered Asian Vultures
PLoS Biol 4(3): e66.

V.Naidoo, K.Wolter, R.Cuthbert, N.Duncan
Veterinary diclofenac threatens Africa’s endangered vulture species
Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 53 (2009) 205–208

Pain et al
The race to prevent the extinction of South Asian vultures
Bird Conservation International (2008) 18:S30–S48

Wolter & Turnbull
A success story and happy outcome: a threatened vulture programme saved
Falco - The Newsletter of the Middle East Falcon Research Group, Issue No. 34 Autumn 2009

Educational Material & Booklets

Let Vultures Soar - Vultures and Farmers 2014

Protocols

K. Wolter, W. Neser, M.T. Hirschauer
Protocols for mass capturing, handling, and fitting tracking devices on vultures
AFRING NEWS 43, 2014

K. Wolter, W. Neser, M.T. Hirschauer
Cape vulture (Gyps coprotheres) Captive-Breeding Protocols

Newsletters

VulPro Flyer July 2014

VulPro Flyer Dec 2013

VulPro Flyer June-July 2013

VulPro Newsletter Dec 2012

VulPro Newsletter June-July 2012

VulPro Newsletter Dec 2011

VulPro Newsletter June-July2011

VulPro Newsletter July-December 2010

VulPro Newsletter June-July 2010

VulPro Newsletter 2009

Annual Reports

Annual Report 2013

Annual Report 2012

Annual Report 2011

Annual Report 2010

Annual Report 2009

Annual Report 2008


CVTF Report 2013

CVTF Report 2012

CVTF Report 2011

CVTF Report 2010

Links

Avian Rearing Resource
a Comprehensive resource of avian hand rearing techniques for captive bird populations

D&M Made with Love
Derick and Margaux Tait, of D&M Made with Love, are contributing a percentage from sales of a custom Vulture Chalkboard to VulPro

VulPro UK
Established by Tracey Murray in 2014, VulPro UK is dedicated to spreading awareness of the plight of vultures, the work VulPro is undertaking, and raising funds for VulPro.

Dolphin Paragliding - Deon Borrett
Deon Supports VulPro through % contributions from his Tandem Flights

Lewis Phillips Photography
About me:

Lewis is a full time professional photographer and conservationist based in the UK. His work is sold around the world in print and through agencies such as getty. Lewis has a great passion for vulture conservation and will be putting a book on old world vulture conservation and their demise in Europe, Asia, Africa.

 

 

Your donations to help the plight of Vultures will be hugely appreciated and will go a long way to ensuring the continued survival of these wonderful birds.

More Info

 

 

Contact us to see how you can play an important role in vulture conservation and other projects in South Africa.

 

More Information

 

 

Kerri Wolter
Mobile: +27 82 808 5113
Fax: +27 86 505 6470


Walter Neser
Mobile: +27 76 593 9849

 

 

VulPro membership is available for personal or corporate

 

More Information

 

 

 

 



STAFF, STUDENTS & VOLUNTEERS at VulPro

Kerri Wolter
Kerri has always been passionate about animals and the environment and much of her youth was spent horse riding and with her dogs. After school, she obtained a secretarial diploma following advice that this was ‘the right thing’, then continuing her studies for Business Computing and Marketing and Business Management (MBM) diplomas leading to work as an accounts analyst for Standard Bank and administrator in Sasol. In her own words, this was not really the direction she wanted to take but “her horse needed to eat”. Fortune though led her to meet Professor Gerhard Verdoorn, then Head of the Vulture Study, Raptor Conservation and Poison Working Groups of the Endangered Wildlife Trust where she was appointed manager of the Vulture Study Group. She remained for 2 years and then moved on in 2005 to manage the Vulture Unit at the De Wildt Cheetah & Wildlife Trust. The opportunity arose there for her to hand-raise her first vulture and her passion and dedication towards the cause of vultures took off in earnest. She left De Wildt at the end of 2006 to establish the Vulture Programme under the wing of the Rhino & Lion Wildlife Conservation NPO, now independent as VulPro. So now Kerri has been involved in vulture conservation for 9 years, and has no doubt that vulture conservation is her calling in life, and a cause to which she is wholly dedicated in heart and soul. Needless to say, however, her training in business computing and management in those earlier days is standing her in good stead now in her role as Founder/Manager of VulPro.

Walter Neser
Walter joined VulPro in September 2010, following his life long passion of working with vultures. This came about after meeting Kerri and assisting with the production of the video "Path into the Future" (see page 3 of the December 2010 issue of VulPro News). Walter was the pilot in the video and gave Kerri her first 'vulture flight'.
Walter has worked on birds, especially birds of prey since 1986, starting at the Ornithology Department at the Transvaal Museum, Pretoria, tracking and studying Bat Hawks and researching their breeding biology. More recently, Walter has been carrying out field work concerned with environmental toxicology as it affects Halieatus species (Bald and Fish Eagles) for Michigan State and Clemson Universities in the USA. Walter is a skilled rock climber which enables him to work effec- tively on cliff and tree nesting species together with various researchers around the world, assisting with nest access for ringing chicks, collecting samples etc. If you ‘google’ Walter (definitely to be recommended) you will see his principal public face is as an ace paraglider and, as well as being paragliding instructor, test pilot and display performer, he puts this skill to good use in bird and animal surveys, one of the most cost effective and least disturbing way of doing this. Others of his many interests include photography, herpetology and horse riding. It has to be agreed, VulProRLWC News suggests, that Kerri is quite lucky....

Orbert & Notice
Standing behind the bench, Orbert Gayesi Phiri has been with VULPRO since its inception in 2007. Orbert is passionate about animals taking on the responsibility of looking after all animals at the centre, training our new students each year and pri- mary caretaker on Kerri Wolter’s frequent absences. Orbert has a truly special way with animals and they respond amazingly well to him, sensing he a friend. He goes the extra mile to ensure the animals take first priority and have clean drinking and bathing water and sufficient food. Orbert is a tremendous asset to the Centre, a team player, friend and part of our expanding family.

Seated in front, Notice Kampion Phiri started with VULPRO in June 2007 just as a temporary employee, helping during the holiday periods when Orbert was on leave. His outstanding performance, hard work and enthusiasm made him indispensible and he has become the centre’s permanent primary maintenance person as well as expert vulture capturer. Only bitten once on his lip, Notice is fearless and enormously strong, ever protective of the farm and all its inhabitants. His hard work, dedication and commitment to the centre is greatly treasured. As with Orbert, Notice is a friend and an important member of our family.

Charles C Banda
Charles has an infectious sense of humor, never missing an opportunity to make a quick joke. Originally from Malawi, he joined VulPro in June 2012 on a temporary basis but became a permanent member of the team as he proved to be indispensible as the project grows. Charles helps with the birds, general farm work and maintenance. Having been bitten a few times by the Condors, Charles has exhibited great patience and passion for the birds as he still continues to work with the animals and make sure they are fed on a daily basis. As with Obert and Notice, Charles is a friend, team player and important member of our family.





Maggie Hirschauer
I am a wildlife biologist researching the captive breeding and release success of Cape vultures in South Africa. This project is my Master’s thesis with Rhodes University, South Africa (advisor Dr. Adrian Craig).

During my ideal day at work, I am outside getting my hands dirty with binoculars at the ready. There is plenty of that here at VulPro where I help move carcasses, smash bones with a sledge hammer for calcium supplementation, and record vulture behaviors for hours.

My passion for raptors started in 2007 when I volunteered at a rehabilitation center for injured/orphaned wildlife in Indiana and at another facility in Kentucky, USA. I have never looked back. While working at rehabilitation facilities in America I found there were many questions concerning release success left unanswered, ultimately inspiring my project. I spent the last two years of my life refining my Master’s thesis questions which combine my interest in raptor biology and love of African birds, resulting in my monumental and ambitious project. See the Conservation Projects tab for information on my project.

Mandy Schroder
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love and empathise with animals; I grew up with a very special golden Labrador who I used to share my dummy and ice cream with.
My love of horses became apparent very early on as my mom has photos of me riding the labbie around the garden until she’d lie down to snuggle. My love of animals has never diminished and I have given my parents many a grey hair with my insistence at rescuing some poor abandoned or lost animal. I was so hysterical once about some ducklings being washed out to sea, with their mother quacking hysterically from the shore that my long suffering father jumped in and fetched them.
I believe that my love of writing stems from a love of reading and that wonderful imaginary world that opens up to you when reading a good book, essay writing at school was always my favourite.
I love what I’m learning about vultures, watching them from VulPro’s hide is an extra special treat. They never fail to make me laugh with their antics and comical behaviour, somewhat like naughty children.
Working for VulPro has pulled together my passion for animals and conservation and incorporated my love of writing as well. We have some very interesting plans in the pipelines, so visit the website regularly for all details!
Here’s hoping that these two passions can assist VulPro as much as they deserve!


 

Your donations to help the plight of Vultures will be hugely appreciated and will go a long way to ensuring the continued survival of these wonderful birds.

More Info

 

 

Contact us to see how you can play an important role in vulture conservation and other projects in South Africa.

 

More Information

 

 

Kerri Wolter
Mobile: +27 82 808 5113
Fax: +27 86 505 6470


Walter Neser
Mobile: +27 76 593 9849

 

 

VulPro membership is available for personal or corporate

 

More Information

 

 

 

 



NEWS ARCHIVE
09 Sept 2013
VulPro SHOP
After the huge demand for Prints of vulture photos at our recent Gala Dinner, we have decided to offer a number of prints of Images from a few photographers who have donated their work for the cause. 100% of the net income from sales generated will go to vulture conservation.
Click on GALLERY & SHOP on the main Menu and scroll down to see whats available right now.
18 July 2013
VulPro vulture hide
Situated at the vulture centre and approximately 12 metres away from the vulture restaurant, the vulture hide offers both experienced and inexperienced photographers and bird watchers the opportunity to view and photograph vultures in close proximity. The cost for 2013 is R80 per person and the hide can comfortably accommodate 4 photographers. The hide is available through bookings only, please e-mail for bookings.

Please note, the entire vulture centre, as you enter the premises is a non-smoking facility both inside and outside buildings as and when you enter our gate.

11 May 2013
Tusk Trust Conservation Award Press Release

We are very proud that Kerri is one of five finalists nominated for the Tusk Conservation Awards. The winner will be announced in September, and awarded personally by Prince William in London. If all goes well, Kerri will be off to the UK soon.
More info in the linked doc.

15 December 2012
VulPro Newsletter Dec 2012

Our Newsletter with info of activities from the past 6 months.

15 July 2012
VulPro Newsletter June-July 2012

Our Newsletter with info of activities from the past 6 months.

30 October 2012
Squirt

Squirt from Walter Neser on Vimeo.

Double clutching at the National Zoo landed us with this chick to hand raise

30 October 2012
Squirt

Squirt from Walter Neser on Vimeo.

Double clutching at the National Zoo landed us with this chick to hand raise

29 October 2012
Vulture Dinner Party - a short film by Hal Brindley

Shot by Hal in Etosha - Enjoy
Warning: contains graphic images.

16 July 2012
Cape Vulture Tracking
Take a look at this interesting looking spot one of our tracked birds flew over this morning. Its a Sandstone sedimentary area, and the layers look like they are almost horizontal, making natural looking contour lines like a topo map when viewed from above, from the ground one would probably never know it.
11 July 2012
Cape Vulture Captive Breeding at VulPro 2012
Cape Vulture Egg Candling.
Monitoring of eggs in our incubator is done every few days, they are weighed and growth measured. One can see the veins grow and then the chick slowly filling the egg as it develops.
This egg is at 37/54 days, it is due on 30th of July. The blood vessels visible is like a inverted lung around the chick, through which it gets its oxygen, and expels CO2, which passes through the egg shell.
The image is taken in very low light conditions, with very high ISO, making it very grainy.
06 July 2012
Cape Vulture Captive Breeding at VulPro 2012

A short Clip showing our first captive bred chick for 2012
The egg was artificially incubated, but retured to the adults for natural hatching.

5 July 2012
Solar Borehole System
We would like to thank the Tusk Trust for their generous support with our Solar Borehole System.
The system is providing all the water for the birds and other needs on the property, pumping up to over 7500l per day, even on cloudy days our tanks are full!
The Solar Panels are mounted 9m up on a pole for security and visible in the background of this shot. In the Foreground is B282, now an adult Cape Vulture.
VulPro collected this bird from Blouberg in November 2009 as a fledgling, with a large sharp piece of bone sticking through the crop, which was surgically removed by our Vet Dorianne Elliot of Exotics at Onderstepoort. The bird recovered well and was released in Feb 2010. Since then we recorded 18 re-sightings at several localities in the Magaliesberg region, including the VulPro restaurant.
4 July 2012
Cape Vulture Captive Breeding

POP! Its out at last...

A huge sigh of relief this afternoon when they finally completed the hatching successfully. Next one is due to hatch around the 12th.

3 July 2012
Cape Vulture Captive Breeding

the "Kalahari Pair" tending to their hatching chick


This egg was laid on 11th of May, and weighed in at 267grams on that date. It was removed from the parents nest and replaced with a "dummy egg" for them to incubate, while the real egg was artificially incubated. The chick entered the airspace and started piping on the 1st of July and was immediately placed under the parents, simultaneously removing the dummy egg. The chick then did the hard work, and broke the shell from the inside over a period of 45 hours, taking its first breaths of fresh air. From here the parents take over and slowly assist with the hatching process, which may take another 24-48 hours until the chick is completely out of the egg, resulting in a total of up to 54 days incubation.
3 July 2012
Cape Vulture Hatching

Cape Vulture in the process of hatching. The white egg tooth is clearly visible in this shot on the upper side of the culmen, which the chick will use to cut the internal membrane separating it from the internal airspace within the egg, once in the airspace, the chick will start breathing, and strengthening, after which it will break the egg shell from the inside also using the egg tooth.


2 July 2012
Cape Vulture Age
Adults have blue skin, immatures pink.
Adults have pale yellow eyes, immatures dark eyes.
Adults collar feathers are white and compact, immatures collars are yellow and fluffy.
Adults covert feathers are rounded, Immatures have pointed coverts feathers.
Immature also have more downy feathers on the head and neck, in adults these become fewer, and more bristle like rather than down feathers.
21 June 2012
Cape Vulture Hatching

Artificially hatching a Cape Vulture Chick

19 June 2012
Cape Vulture eggs in our incubator

Cape Vulture eggs, by bird standards have a quite long incubation period of 54 days. To ensure the safe incubation of the eggs, we substitute the eggs laid with dummy eggs to keep the pairs incubating while we incubate their eggs in the incubator. This allows us to return the egg to the adults just prior to hatching, or in certain cases, we hatch the egg and return the chick in a specially made hatching egg. Vultures only lay one egg per year and success from egg to breeding age is estimated to be only 5%.

21 September 2011
Cape Vulture Breeding and Reintroduction

The Vulture Programme in collaboration with the Johannesburg Zoo is proud to announce the hatching of their first captive bred Cape Vulture chick which hatched on 1 September 2011, this chick is unique in that the method used to successfully breed this chick is the first for the species in South Africa, as well as the first chick destined for Namibia as part of our Namibian Cape Vulture Recovery Plan.

The egg was laid on 11 July 2011 on an artificial breeding cliff inside an enclosure at the Vulture Programme's Vulture Centre near Hartbeespoort Dam. The egg was then transferred to an incubator where it was artificially incubated for 54 days. During this time, the parents were given a dummy egg to continue incubating. On 30 August the chick was heard inside the egg's air-space and the next day the chick was assisted throughout its hatching process in order to safe guard and guarantee its survival during this stressful period.

At 15:00 on 1 September, the chick was taken to its natural parents and swapped with the dummy egg using a specially made plastic egg shell from which the parents could easily 'hatch' the chick. The parents immediately heard the chick inside the artificial egg shell and assisted it to hatch again after which they carefully and proudly inspected their offspring and started brooding. Our breeding and swapping attempt proved to be successful and fourteen days later, the chick has doubled in size and the parents are quite comfortable allowing us to watch their feeding regime.

This technique allows us to produce parent reared 'wild' chicks that are suitable for release into their natural environment, as opposed to hand raised chicks which can be human imprinted, while eliminating many of the dangers of natural incubation and hatching. Cape Vultures are colonial birds, but will mate for life, carefully choosing their 'soul-mate' from a large group. In captivity, they may not meet a suitable mate, thus for successful breeding, several birds need to be housed together to allow them to make their own partner selection.

The Namibian Recovery Plan is focused on preventing the extinction of the species in Namibia where they are now extinct as a breeding species. The intention of the plan is to undertake ex-situ breeding of Cape Vultures with the goal to reintroduce these vultures back into existing home ranges in Namibia with the purpose of stabilising the remaining wild population. The ultimate goal being to increase the individual number of Cape Vultures to the point of natural breeding once again on Namibia's Waterberg Plateau.

Background:
The Cape Vulture is southern Africa's only endemic vulture species and is listed as critically endangered in Namibia with approximately 12 wild Cape Vultures left in the country.

South Africa has the largest population of breeding Cape Vultures, however still listed as vulnerable by the IUCN (2000) with an estimated 2400 breeding pairs in the wild (Vulture Programme unpublished data 2011). In view of the few remaining Cape Vultures left in Namibia, unless the mitigation of identified threats is undertaken, in addition to a captive breeding and reintroduction programme, the species will be lost to Namibia and only a few vagrant Cape Vultures from South Africa will be seen visiting some of the natural and historical foraging sites. Vulture species across the globe are facing similar threats with the Cape Vulture being no exception, resulting in a continuous downward spiral throughout much of their range. Human activities have had the largest impact on vultures throughout the world.

Power line electrocutions and collisions together with inadvertent poisoning remain two of the greatest threats that vultures as well as other birds of prey are facing in southern Africa. Disturbance at nesting and roosting sites contributes to a loss of suitable nesting/roosting habitat for vultures. Human population expansion continues to claim large areas of wilderness, which will eventually be lost to vulture populations. Development in wilderness areas for eco-resorts is a cause of great concern as these areas are often branded as 'eco-friendly' however, impacts are often as serious as many agricultural developments. Climate change could possibly have an impact on the birds breeding behaviour, a threat that requires further focused research to understand its potential impact on the species. In Namibia, mismanagement of some farmlands has led to severe bush encroachment over large areas, and recent research has indicated that this also has an adverse effect on the vulture's ability to find food.

21 September 2011
CV Chick Progress on the nest @ 17 Days
11 September 2011
Cape Vulture Captive Breeding at VulPro 2011 Season
Artificially incubated, parent reared in captivity by non releasable adults in our breeding enclosure, destined for release into Namibia, this chick is now ten days old, only seven years to go till its old enough to start making its own contribution to this species survival. This chick is looking for a sponsor to finance the Tracking Device that will help to keep it safe after its release, and for transport, pre-release housing in the form a hacking enclosure that needs to be built in Namibia and more. Cape Vultures are extinct as a breeding species in Namibia.

Please contact us if you want to get involved. Full Sponsorship would give the right to place tracking data on company website, name the chick etc.
10 August 2011
Wild Art Africa
From Daniel Taylor (Internationally acclaimed artist) – a Tribute to VulPro in the Words of Daniel: "It is to YOU and to your tremendous workmanship and devotion that this painting is dedicated too and can only hope that this painting (prints) will be able to help raise those ever so needed funds toward your programs."

For more information, or if you are interested to buy a print, please visit: Wild Art Africa
26 June 2011
Vultures Chose Me
A Film Produced for the Mazda Wildlife Fund, by Micheal Raimondo of Green Renaisance.
This film is about Vultures, their Plight, and Kerri, who has made it her mission to save them.
14 June 2011
VulPro Gala Fundraiser Dinner
20 December 2010
VulPro Cape Vulture release on 19 Dec 2010
Four birds go back where they belong! Dorianne and Francois worked for many hours to save two of these birds, one from a Puff Adder bite, and the other from burns in the trachea from a, electric fence collision. Extremely satisfying to see them go!

30 November 2010
Cape Vulture organophosphate poisoning
The bird suffered from seisures for 2 days starting every 2 hours and increasing to every few minutes. These seisures then progressed to every few seconds and continuously until the bird was euthanaised. During the 2 day process, the bird was being treated for organophosphate poisoning with no success and no signs of improvement.

17 September 2010
I Believe I can Fly
MAZDA Wildlife Fund advertisment 2010

 

Your donations to help the plight of Vultures will be hugely appreciated and will go a long way to ensuring the continued survival of these wonderful birds.

More Info

 

 

Contact us to see how you can play an important role in vulture conservation and other projects in South Africa.

 

More Information

 

 

Kerri Wolter
Mobile: +27 82 808 5113
Fax: +27 86 505 6470


Walter Neser
Mobile: +27 76 593 9849

 

 

VulPro membership is available for personal or corporate

 

More Information

 

 

 

 

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