Monitoring activities are extremely important to the project, as they enable us to determine the success of conservation efforts. Extensive monitoring activities have been underway in order to gain information on the vultures’ distribution, demography, territory occupancy, reproductive success and population densities.
Field monitoring takes place at selected nest, roost and feeding sites, and includes public reports on sightings. Monitoring is sponsored by Sasol through the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
An extensive satellite monitoring programme was implemented in 2006 to continually track the movements of the birds via satellite transmitters, and to determine causes of mortality. Since 2006, when the tracking project started, 25 Bearded Vultures have been fitted with transmitters. 10 of those vultures have since died due to poisoning or powerline collisions- a shocking 40% of the vultures included in the project.
The tracking units that have been used on the Bearded Vultures are Microwave Telemetry and North Star Science and Technology Platform Transmitter Terminals (PTTs). They are very valuable, top of the range units, which utilise the ARGOS satellite.