The Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project Receives Funding

The Maloti-Drakensberg’s vulture project was successful in receiving funding from the European Outdoor Conservation Association. The amount applied for was €29 000.

The Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains connecting South Africa and Lesotho, represent the last, southernmost, stronghold for the region’s Critically Endangered Bearded Vulture. There are fewer than 100 breeding pairs left in these mountains, which is also a vital breeding and foraging site for the Endangered Cape Vulture.  In the face of climate change and global warming, this high altitude landscape, along with its areas of considerable altitude gradient, are considered critical refugia for biodiversity such as its resident, near endemic, vultures. The region’s numerous rivers are also vital corridors for biodiversity movement, creating resilience at the landscape scale.

The funding will go towards actively protecting these last high altitude vulture refugia and reduce the concerning decline of vultures in the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountain range. This will be done through innovative community driven eco-tourism projects, namely:

i) Clean-up programme will be undertaken on local rivers currently experiencing high pollution pressure.

ii) Community members will make eco-bricks to construct wildlife viewing and photography hides at strategic tourism sites in the region, where we will also work with communities and local homesteads to remove key threats to vultures and establish feeding sites to sustain the region’s vulture populations. The hides will provide a valuable platform to generate awareness and a sustainable income from tourists.

iii) Awareness and education workshops will be held in the area to include poisoning response training and awareness, improving livestock grazing and fire regimes and other vital conservation topics.

Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project