VulPro - Vulture Conservation

Link to the wild

Aiding Vulpro in the protection, rehabilitation and re-release of Vultures in South Africa.

The Project

To help with the rehabilitation of injured vultures with the intention to re-release. To fit GPS trackers to monitor their distribution.

The Target
£3K

There are two families of vultures which evolved completely separately - Old World Vultures are found in Africa, Asia and Europe, and New World Vultures found in the Americas. New World Vultures have weaker feet and a great sense of smell, Old World have large feet and excellent eye sight. Here at Blair Drummond Safari Park we are home to two different types of Old World Vultures - the Hooded Vulture (Critically Endangered) and the Ruppell's Vulture (Critically Endangered).

VulPro was established in 2007, working to protect the native vulture species in South Africa. The main objectives of the charity include:

  • Vulture rehabilitation
  •  Captive breeding and reintroduction programmes
  •  Wild population breeding monitoring
  • Vulture educational and awareness programmes
  • Veterinary and ecological research
  • Distribution, dispersal and foraging ranges of vultures

With the many threats vultures are facing throughout southern Africa, vulture rehabilitation has become an essential part of VulPro’s work. Collecting grounded, injured, poisoned and disabled vultures around South Africa, with special emphasis within the Gauteng, North West, Limpopo, Free State, Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape Provinces, VulPro is able to save many vultures that would otherwise have met their untimely deaths. By doing this, VulPro is in a position to release those vultures that are fit and healthy and to keep those that cannot be released in captivity 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.

GPS tracking devices 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 in addition to finding hotspot vulture threat zones).

Vulpro conducts and facilitates educational talks and interactions with both tame and wild vultures at the rehabilitation and educational centre in Hartbeespoort, as well as at external, formal and informal venues and with groups of varying demographics, ages, interests and expertise. Though VulPro mainly focuses on helping vultures for release, the centre has several permanent residents that can not be re-released at their centre which are used for breeding and education programmes. There are eight species of vulture found in South Africa:

Ruppell’s Vulture- Gyps rueppellii- Critically Endangered

White-headed Vulture - Trigonoceps occipitalis- Critically Endangered

Hooded Vulture - Necrosyrtes monachus – Critically Endangered 

White Backed Vulture- Gyps africanus-  Critically Endangered

Cape Griffon Vulture - Gyps coprotheres - Endangered

Lappet-faced vulture - Torgos tracheliotos – Endangered

Bearded Vulture - Gypaetus barbatus- Least Concern

Palm-nut Vulture - Gypohierax angolensis – Least Concern 

 

Thanks to your generous support, we are working with Vulpro to try and save critically endangered and endangered species from the brink of extinction. Our 2018 funding will go towards rehabilitating injured vultures with the intention to re-release. Released vultures are fitted with GPS trackers to monitor their distribution etc. Last November VulPro made history by releasing 35 captive bred and rehabilitated vultures. 

Where your money goes

Hartbeespoort, South Africa

Dom & Mark

The Bird of Prey Team

The team have worked with various species of vulture, including Kevin our Hooded Vulture and our Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture. Both species are Critically Endangered in the wild so they are excellent ambassadors for their species and help to educate visitors about the struggles they face. 

Common name
Ruppell’s Vulture
Scientific name
Gyps rueppellii
Location
South Africa
Lifespan
Up to 40 years
Fast facts
Vultures have incredibly powerful stomach acid meaning that they can consume rotting and even infected flesh without becoming ill.
There are many terms for a group of vultures; in flight they are referred to as a kettle, a group of feeding vultures is known as a wake.
Conservation status
Endangered