KAROO NEWS - The Karoo Vulture Safe Zone came about as the product of an idea to conserve and return Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres) to their historic breeding and roosting sites from a small group of landowners from the Camdeboo Conservancy in 2016.
The project now has the support of the Rupert Nature Foundation, Endangered Wildlife Trust, South African National Parks, the Mountain Zebra Camdeboo Protected Environment and SANParks Honorary Rangers to help create a Karoo Vulture Safe Zone.
Phase One of the project started at the end of August and has now succeeded in connecting with landowners from 40 properties and has over 315 000 hectares committed to becoming Vulture Safe, this also includes two of the three National Parks in the project area.
This zone, which is projected to cover 23 000 squared kilometres, also includes four protected areas, namely the Karoo National Park, Camdeboo National Park, Mountain Zebra National Park and the Mountain Zebra Camdeboo Protected Environment.
Danielle du Toit of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), on Thursday 5 November at St Olive's in the Graaff–Reinet area, presented the project to a group of landowners and interested parties. She explained some of the current threats facing the long-term goal to encourage Cape Vultures back to their historical ranges throughout the Great Karoo.
Vultures' ability to clean carcasses quickly prevents the spread of diseases, which means they are integral to our ecosystem.
Du Toit said that poisoning (whether intentional or otherwise), powerline collisions, habitat loss, drowning in open water reservoirs and lead poisoning are threats to the birds.
She also mentioned that the current construction of a privately funded bird rehabilitation centre on Good Hope property outside Graaff Reinet will be an important support for remaining Cape Vulture population, as well as other raptors, enabling injured and grounded birds in the area to be rescued and rehabilitated locally.
Raul Strydom of Camdeboo Vets and Ronelle Visagie of the EWT Birds of Prey Programme joined on the day to explain how to handle an injured Raptor if you should come across one.
Strydom said that stress is the number one killer of any sick or injured wild bird and added that people should:
- Avoid using cages or kennels with metal bars.
- Keep the bird in a warm, dark and quiet place, out of reach of children or pets.
- Minimize handling. The more you handle the bird, the more risk there is of further damage and shock.
- Transport it to a veterinarian or rehabilitation Centre ASAP.
- Do not try to feed the bird.
For more information on Karoo Vulture Safe Zone, contact Danielle du Toit on e-mail at email@example.com or 071 599 0127.
For information on treating or handling sick or injured birds, contact Ronelle Visagie: firstname.lastname@example.org, 072 995 5788 or Camdeboo Vets: 049 891 0900
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