Conservation history was made on 15 February 2015 with the release of ten captive bred parent-raised CapeVultures at VulPro. These chicks took their first flight into the wild to join the Magaliesberg’s CapeVultures, marking the initiation of a population recovery plan which has taken years of preparation.
Seven captive bred CapeVultures from VulPro and three from the National Zoological Gardens were released into VulPro’s open-top enclosure, located adjacent to the rehabilitation enclosure in which they are currently housed. Moving birds to the open-top enclosure allows them to ‘release’ themselves when they feel ready to leave. The birds can either remain inside the safety of this enclosure or join the wild vultures feeding at the vulture restaurant adjacent to the captive breeding enclosure where the VulPro vultures were raised.
Each vulture is fitted with a tracking device to its back to monitor its movements with locality readings, altitude, speed, temperature and direction every 15 minutes. In addition, each bird is fitted with wing tags on both wings for visual re-sightings. These tags have been especially designed in Spain and are far superior to the current tags used in South Africa. They can be read from both the top and underneath surfaces of the birds’ wings and do not fade as the writing has been cut out instead of laser printed. Vulpro is appealing to all members of the public to report tagged re-sightings as this data is extremely important for the success of this release project.
|VulPro, a vulture conservation programme in South Africa’s North-West Province’s Magaliesberg Mountains, is located within 100 km of two active and one extinct Cape Vulture breeding colonies.|