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.
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 primary 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.
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 indispensable 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.
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
I have had a passion for nature and conservation from a very young age. I finally got to pursue these passions in 2008 when I spent a few months obtaining my Field Guiding License.
Soon after I left this field to pursue further studies in Nature Conservation. I graduated in 2014 with my BTech Degree in Nature Conservation Cum Laude.
I have been very blessed to gain various forms of exposure in this field including field guiding, veldt management, game farm management, guest relations and various other aspects of Conservation.
After spending a year in the field in North-West Botswana, I returned to Pretoria. Here I joined the Rietvlei Nature Reserve where I spent a year and a half working intimately with Rhinos and Lions. At this point I realized it was time to pursue another passion of mine… Vultures.
When presented the opportunity to join the VulPro team, I grabbed it with both hands. It has been an amazing experience so far filled with so many different and new adventures that I cannot wait to see what the future holds.
Lara Jordan- Head of Research
Lara Jordan joined VulPro on 1 March 2018 after submitting her PhD on the conservation of Wattled Cranes which are a critically endangered species in South Africa. Her thesis focused on the overlap between wild and captive work and the benefit from combining skills sets between these two fields. She has spent time in the field conducting research on Hooded Vulture’s in the Kruger National Park, South Africa and has worked in the field in ornithology in the Cook Islands and in Mauritius under the auspicious Dr Carl Jones founder of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. She conducted her masters at Leeds University, UK, in Biodiversity and Conservation.