VulPro expands its operations
Skeerpoort – With vulture numbers continuously declining across their range, collaborations and multifaceted approaches are becoming more important to safeguard existing populations. This requires adaptive management approaches which include both in-situ and ex-situ conservation strategies and which incorporates rehabilitation and breeding programmes for ethical conservation purposes.
VulPro has, since 2007, spearheaded vulture conservation across the continent and has worked
throughout the globe on critical vulture research projects. Already known as one of the leaders and
drivers in vulture conservation in Africa, VulPro, through the support of the Tusk Trust and the Hans
Hoheisen Charitable Trust, continues to expand its reach and has such, expanded its operations into the Gauteng and Eastern Cape.
VulPro currently houses the largest collection of non-releasable African vultures globally, all for
conservation purposes to benefit their free-living wild counterparts. As such, with partnerships from GH Braak Farms and CS Vets, a captive core population of non-releasable vultures has successfully been moved to a fully sponsored and permitted satellite site at Bronkhorspruit; VulPro’s first official satellite site.
With new diseases emerging, security risks ever-present in South Africa and for insurance purposes for the species, sharing the load of such large numbers of non-releasable vultures across provinces within South Africa is sound and ethical conservation practice. This also allows VulPro to further increase its rehabilitation and captive breeding efforts which are directly aimed at benefiting wild populations.
Furthermore, VulPro has also expanded its release sites into the Eastern Cape in partnership with Kate Webster who is VulPro’s Eastern Cape associate, together with the Eastern Cape Nature Conservation Department and DHL Supply Chain. It is here where Phase two of VulPro’s captive breeding programme will commence where parent raised offspring from our 2019 and 2020 breeding seasons, will be housed for a few months, followed by their release.
Each individual will be released with a SAFRING metal leg band, a coloured leg band for easy identification and resighting purposes as well as a GSM/GPS mounted backpack tracking device. With the ever-declining Cape Vulture populations in the Eastern Cape due to power line related incidents as well as both intentional and unintentional poisoning, breeding sites are contracting with only a few pockets remaining as strongholds for the species in this province; as such, the Eastern Cape is well suited for a well co-ordinated and managed vulture supplementation programme.
This new approach in the Eastern Cape Province, offers VulPro, together with Eastern Cape officials and the public to play an important role in preserving the species through a collective approach whereby there is inclusion by farmers, communal landowners and the public, both directly and indirectly.
VulPro press release extracts, 22 September 2020
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