Vultures

The Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation was part of an incredible release recently. The organisation helped release 6 Cape Vultures back into the wild. The images are heartwarming.

 

It is quite an emotional moment, when you see a bird as impressive as a vulture, having been in rehab for several months, being released, and soaring free. Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation recently assisted the fantastic folks at VulPro, with releasing 6 of the Vultures in their care. These vultures spent time at the rehabilitation facility for different reasons, including lead poisoning and physical damage. All of them were tagged, and one was also fitted with a tracking device (financial constraints make it impossible to track all of them). These special birds now have only one task – to survive – a feat which is becoming more and more challenging as days go by.

“They left their travel crates with excited ‘hops’, a typical vulture gait. Lots of wing-stretching happened then, and testing of the thermals for take-off, as well as the sampling of menu items at the Vulture Restaurant forming part of the release site.”

The release would normally follow at least six months in a soft-release facility where the enclosure is eventually left open so that the birds can come and go as they please, but the threat of leopards and hyenas trapping the birds inside makes this option not viable right now. We, at Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation, wish these wild babies every success and hope to see them breed and form healthy colonies of their own.

Education about the plight of these birds is critical if we want them to survive. They are CITES Appendix 1, which means the highest level of protection possible. But unfortunately, powerlines kill hundreds of them every year. While we were there, a carcass was discovered, of a tagged vulture, which got electrocuted by the powerlines a few weeks earlier. Despite the warning tags called ‘flaps’ put up by the Electrical Company. Habitat loss means these birds have limited options space-wise, for thriving.

Man has taken over in so many places where they used to be safe. Vultures are misunderstood and even feared, and this has not helped their survival. They are critically important in the ecosystem because they are the cleaners of the bush. As they mostly feed on dead animals, they are extremely vulnerable to poisons that are widely used, with one case reported of 43 Vultures having died from a single poisoned carcass. They are mercilessly persecuted for Muti in the belief that they can endow someone with supernatural abilities. (Muti = traditional African medicine). Their ability to spot a carcass from about 4km away, has led to the belief that they can foresee the future.

The average length of adult Cape Vultures is about 96–115 cm (38–45 in) with a wingspan of 2.26–2.6 m (7.4–8.5 ft) and a body weight of 7–11 kg (15–24 lb). The two prominent bare skin patches at the base of the neck, also found in the white-backed vulture, are thought to be temperature sensors and used for detecting the presence of thermals. The species is among the largest raptors in Africa, next to the lappet-faced vulture. After the Himalayan griffon vulture and the cinereous vulture, the Cape vulture is the third largest Old World vulture.

#WHWF will always support Ethical Conservation Projects, and show you how we make a difference with your help. To this end, we have supplied the Vulture Rehab Project with tens of thousands of Rands’ worth of Veterinary and Medical Consumables to make their job easier, and aid in the Survival of these magnificent birds. The release enclosure will also be fitted with artificial lawn that we supplied for the perches, which will aid in prevention of foot problems such as bumblefoot. We would not have been able to assist without your kind support. The Vultures and #WHWF thank you! To the 6 with their new-found freedom: Fly Free, Fly High, Fly Safe!

Cape Vultures Rescued & Released to Freedom

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation assisting the dedicated folks at VulPro (Vulture Rehabilitation).Wonderful video account of these rehabilitated Cape Vultures leaving their travel crates with excited ‘hops’, a typical vulture gait. Lots of wing-stretching happened and testing of the thermals for take-off, as well as sampling of menu items at the Vulture Restaurant forming part of the release site.It is an extremely emotional moment, when you see a bird as impressive as a vulture, having been in rehab for several months, being released, and soaring free. These Cape vultures spent time at the rehabilitation facility for different reasons, including lead poisoning and physical damage caused by electricity power lines. All of them were tagged, and one was also fitted with a tracking device (financial constraints make it impossible to track all of them). These special birds now have only one task – to survive – a feat which is becoming more and more challenging as days go by.

Posted by Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation on Monday, 5 February 2018


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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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