Help Save the Magaliesberg Cape Vultures
The Cape Vulture is southern Africa only endemic vulture species. Over the last 3 decades, the species’ global range has drastically contracted and the population has declined to 4,000 breeding pairs, resulting in the species being uplisted to Endangered.
Already extinct as a breeding species in Zimbabwe, Swaziland and the most recent, Namibia and with ongoing declines across the species range, VulPro has initiated a captive breeding programme for population supplementation and reintroduction purposes.
All vulture species are threatened by human developments and the expanding grid of dangerous infrastructures with the most pressing threats being power line collisions and electrocutions and poisonings.
Over the last 5 years, these threats have escalated around VulPro with exponential human expansion resulting in an increase in power line infrastructure, thus making the immediate area around the Centre no longer ideal for captive breeding, release, and supplementary feeding purposes.
The Nooitgedacht Farm (which includes one of two breeding colonies in the Magaliesberg Mountain range) has recently been placed on the market, opening the risk that this pristine property is purchased by mining companies or property developers. For this reason and jointly for the sustainability and preservation of our vultures and to secure VulPro into the future, we now aim to purchase and relocate the Centre to the Nooitgedacht Farm and Cape Vulture colony 45 km west of VulPro. This move will ultimately safeguard the Magaliesberg Cape Vulture breeding population and biodiversity on the entire mountain range.
In addition to the purchase of the property and relocation of the Centre, VulPro will supplement the Magaliesberg population with captive bred individuals to boost the population and ultimately re-establish the Roberts’ Farm breeding colony which was abandoned in 2012 and which is 20kms west of Nooitgedacht and historically the largest Cape Vulture colony along the Magaliesberg Mountains.
A new release enclosure is currently under construction at the active Nooitgedacht breeding colony and, if the land can be purchased, all of VulPro’s activities will be moved to this site.
Our new release / flight enclosure will house captive bred and rehabilitated Cape Vultures for up to two years until release.
The first captive bred chicks were released at VulPro’s current breeding facilities in Rietfontein below the Magaliesberg Mountains in February 2015, but these birds have yet to leave the property. The new release, located where we want vultures to remain and breed, is necessary to make the final critical step to a successful reintroduction / supplementation programme.
Not only is this project instrumental in boosting the local population of Cape Vultures, but protocols used in this programme may be refined and implemented at other locations where the species has become regionally extinct, i.e. Namibia, Zimbabwe, and regions of South Africa. This is a truly momentous project, the first of its kind on the continent, and has wide reaching implications for the conservation of all African vulture species.