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World leading vulture captive breeding and conservation organisation, VulPro, is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

Vulture VulproVulPro is a world leading organisation in the field of vulture conservation, conservation breeding and rehabilitation. They also run a wide range of environmental education and outreach programmes. Their central facility, just outside Hartbeespoort in the Magaliesberg mountains of the North West Province is home to 160 birds of eight different species. Each year, dozens of birds are treated for injuries or illness and rereleased back into the wild. In addition, VulPro runs two supplementary feeding sites which have been known to attract upwards of 250 birds at a time. The captive breeding facilities are world class and this season, birds will be reintroduced back into a natural colony in a ground breaking process of gradual assimilation that may change the way captive conservation-bred birds are managed forever.

VulPro runs a wide range of projects, from education of local school kids at their afternoon Roots and Shoots programme, to the training of local veterinarians by world experts in avian surgery. Their captive breeding programme is very successful and their advocacy programmes include working hard with Eskom to make the country’s infrastructure safe for large birds.

VulPro plays an important role in expanding our knowledge of vultures with fifty peer reviewed articles now published, covering research from the impact of cattle drugs on vultures to the state of our wild bird populations. Birds that were tagged at VulPro have been tracked as far south as KwaZulu-Natal and as far north as Angola and Zambia. Vultures are vital to our ecosystem, clearing up carcasses and preventing the spread of diseases through livestock and human populations. Africa’s vultures are under severe threat, following the lead of the Asian vulture crisis which saw the vulture population plunge by 99% in a generation.

Losing vultures

West Africa has lost most of their vultures and southern African vultures have been under pressure for many years. Age old threats such as habitat loss and collisions and electrocutions from powerlines have now been joined by newer problems such as the poisoning of birds by rhino and elephant poachers and the increased use of vultures in the muthi trade. VulPro

International vulture awareness day is an opportunity for everyone involved in vulture conservation around the world to join in efforts to publicise the plight of these magnificent creatures. There are a number of world class organisations working on vultures in South Africa and our scientists and conservationists play an active role in the global effort to conserve vultures and condors.

Image credit:  Copyright: wrangel / 123RF Stock Photo

 
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