Bearded Vulture

Project Objectives

Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project

The objective of the Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project is to ensure the long-term survival of the cliff-nesting vulture species, which will ultimately be achieved by stopping population declines, stabilising the populations, and beginning to grow the populations to a realistic carrying capacity, whilst ensuring breeding success.

The objectives set out here for both species have been compiled by the role-players and have been accepted as specific, relevant and realistic.

Objectives of the Bearded Vulture Recovery Programme:

  • Achieve a significant reduction in mortality caused unintentionally by toxic substances used in the control of problem animals.
  • Achieve a significant reduction in mortality caused by the trade in Bearded Vulture parts for belief-based use.
  • Achieve a significant reduction in persecution and disturbance of Bearded Vulture.
  • Prevent or substantially reduce Bearded Vulture mortality caused by collisions with energy generation and transmission infrastructure.
  • Ensure availability of an appropriate level of safe food across the Bearded Vulture range.
  • Ensure availability of sufficient suitable habitat for Bearded Vultures to breed and forage Maintain an ex-situ genetic reserve of the southern African Bearded Vulture and supplement the existing population and/or restore populations where extinct.
  • Promote Bearded Vulture conservation through cross-cutting actions in relation to education & awareness,  Support Bearded Vulture conservation through cross-cutting actions in relation to research and monitoring Administration of the Bearded Vulture Task Force.
  • Fundraising for Project sustainability.

Objectives of the Cape Vulture Project:

  • Expand the supplementary feeding programme, increasing the availability of safe, suitably positioned  food for vulture consumption.
  • Mitigate wind energy, create sensitivity maps, continue satellite tracking.
  • Mitigation of energy structures (power line electrocution & collisions).
  • Create a better understanding of traditional use of vultures. Review the traditional use trade strategy.
  • Collect and analyse data to facilitate adaptive management of cape vultures.
  • Assess quality and quantity of food available to cape vultures.
  • Reduce and mitigate the number of vulture poisonings.
  • Pursue various opportunities regionally and nationally.
  • Understand and address the threat of vulture use in traditional beliefs.
  • Reduce Cape Vulture electrocutions and collisions.  Identify high-risk areas and monitor power line risks.
  • Create awareness of the plight of vultures. Set up a national educational campaign. Target farmers, general public, schools, media etc.

Zululand Vulture Project

The Zululand Vulture Tagging Project falls under the Zululand Vulture Project,  and has been running since 2009 with the collaboration of the Endangered Wildlife Trust Birds of Prey Working Group, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Wildlife ACT – with support from Eskom, Raptor Rescue and private landowners.

The project focuses on 3 species of tree-nesting vultures (African White-Backed, Lappet-Faced and White-Headed). The fieldwork conducted is part of an overall strategy to study and conserve vultures in KwaZulu-Natal. The process involves using a cherry picker to reach the nests and then removing any vulture chicks from the nest and tagging them with patagial (wing) tags. Blood samples are also taken which allows for valuable data collection.

Objectives of the Zululand Vulture Tagging Project

  • Determine the causes of mortality.
  • Determine the survival rate of the species, and what influences or inhibits population growth.
  • Examine changes in breeding population size and range.
  • Promote vulture conservation through the involvement of volunteers, students, researchers, landowners and other interested parties.
  • Address the threat of poisoning.
  •  Address the use of vultures in illegal trade and traditional medicine.
  • Create an awareness around the species and its conservation status.


Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project