Cape Vulture Caught in a Gin Trap

Threats

Vultures fall prey to many threats directly caused by man. The primary threats faced by the species includes poisoning for the traditional medicine trade or by poachers, agricultural poisoning through the illegal use of poisons, accidental poisoning by feeding on meat containing lead or harmful veterinary products, and electrocution and collision with the ever-expanding energy network.

Additional threats to the species include ongoing habitat loss and food shortage as a result of infrastructural development, land use change and improved rural farming and animal husbandry techniques.

Over the last five years breeding densities have decreased by due to the increasing mortality rates these birds are facing. Infrastructure such as the Letšeng Wind Farm, additional powerlines and substations, has been approved by the Lesotho government, for construction in the next year. The location of this wind farm is dangerously close to the vulture breeding grounds in the Maloti-Drakensberg range. This raises many concerns as the wind turbines in such a location will result in the birds colliding with the blades. Similarly, powerlines are to be erected which will result in further collisions and electrocutions.

A combination of these factors accounts for the recent drastic decline in population numbers and calls for us to actively contribute to the conservation of our vulture species, or see these magnificent birds disappear from the southern African skies, forever.

Dead Bearded Vulture
Bearded Vulture killed in a collision

Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project

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