Field Monitoring


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.

Bearded Vulture (Lelhwa) fitted with transmitter
Bearded Vulture (Lehlwa) fitted with transmitter

Field monitoring takes place at selected nest, roost and feeding sites, and includes public reports on sightings. Monitoring is sponsored primarily by the collaborators on the project and funds raised by the Rhino Peak Challenge.

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. 11 of those vultures have since died due to poisoning or powerline collisions- a shocking 44% of the Bearded Vultures included in the project.

See the latest movements of our tracked vultures here, and meet the vultures included in the project here

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.

Field ranger Thabathani Tshaka
Thabathani Tshaka of Tshaka Tours carrying out essential monitoring work

Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project