Mission: VulPro is a multi-faceted organisation which deals with every aspect of vulture conservation, aiming to advance knowledge, awareness and innovation in the conservation of African vulture populations. Activities include rescuing and rehabilitating injured and poisoned vultures, restoring and monitoring colonies, community outreach and education and research initiatives.
Species: Cape vulture
Location: South Africa
Support started: 2015
Donating: £5,000 to help towards vulture monitoring expenses covering field staff and activities related to several of the core colonies. This also includes power line sweeps below the colonies, which is a new initiative hand in hand with the monitoring.
Find out more about our work with this project through our annual report:
Background: VulPro is the only organisation in South Africa undertaking concise and continuous monitoring of several of the Cape vulture colonies making up an estimated 50% of the total population. However, comprehensive, regular, long-term monitoring of the total number of active breeding pairs at each and every Cape vulture breeding colony in the region has not been achieved so far and is logistically challenging. The most feasible way to estimate the trend in Cape vulture numbers is to examine information from the relatively few breeding colonies monitored on a regular basis over an adequate time period. Studies into the number of active breeding pairs, the productivity of these pairs and the potential threats facing these populations are conducted. Each year the same team visits the colony three times, the first count (May-June) to measure the number of pairs attempting to breed that season, the second count (July-August) measures the number of pairs breeding and the number of chicks produced and the last count (October) measures the number of successful pairs (number of fledglings produced). VulPro are now starting to see trends which are often associated with conservation presence.
In addition, VulPro have started monitoring power lines in the vicinity of the surveyed colonies to determine the usage of powerline structures by vultures and the degree of threat these structures present to the vultures. Data from these surveys help offer recommendations to the electricity utility company in line with already approved and recognised ‘bird-friendly’ structures.
It is hoped that by using the Cape vulture as a flagship species, VulPro can promote and implement appropriate conservation actions for the benefit of vultures and enhance the public profile of vulture conservation.
Future objectives: At the end of each year, VulPro aims to gain a full data set from all important colonies to add to the growing long-term data set, but ultimately they would like to see the declining trends in the populations be stabilized or even reversed to show positive growth back towards historic numbers through their conservation actions which is based in part on the data captured through this monitoring.