Bearded Vulture with Satellite Transmittor in Place © Shannon Hoffman

Satellite Tracked Birds

The Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project has placed satellite transmitters on 25 Bearded Vultures and 3 Cape Vultures. These transmitters have been funded and supported by the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Programme, The Wildlands Conservation Trust and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, with additional single units sponsored by Terra de Natura, Aspen Pharmaceuticals and the McAdams Family.

The satellite transmitter units are light boxes fitted on the birds as a small backpack, and are designed to release and fall off after a period of time. Powered by a small solar panel, they relay their location at regular intervals, transmitting data via cellphone signal. This enables us to accurately track their full ranging territory, providing data on feeding and breeding habits, use of territories, and causes of mortality.

The effects of the ongoing threats highlighted by the Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture project have unfortunately been reflected by the results of the satellite monitoring program.

Of the 25 Bearded Vultures fitted with transmitters over the last 10 years, 1 has died through a power-line collision, 9 have been killed through poisoning, and 1 was shot. That’s almost half of the birds included in the project…

We currently have 7 active satellite transmitters on 5 Bearded Vultures, and 2 Cape Vultures. We release update maps showing their weekly movements here.

The Bearded Vultures we currently track are:

Lehwla, Sub-adult male
Inkosi Yeentaka, Sub-adult female
Jeremia, Adult female
Pharoah, Adult male
Mollie, Juvenile male

The Cape Vultures we currently track are:

Bennie, Rehabilitated bird
N207, Rehabilitated Sub-adult male

And the tracked birds that have fallen victim of persecution, poisoning or collisions are:

Andalucia, female, poisoned May 2008
Linong, female, poisoned June 2008
Ikloba, female, poisoned April 2011
Aspen, male, poisoned April 2013
Ucociathafa, male, killed in powerline collision May 2010
Olivia, female, poisoned April 2012
Zakhumi, female, poisioned October 2012
Baardbek, male, poisoned August 2010
Sphinx, female, poisoned January 2013
Lefuma, male, poisoned February 2014
Kloutjie, Juvenile male, shot and killed, September 2017

Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project