Eagle encounters bird rehabilitation centre has launched the Western Cape’s first vulture captive breeding programme, as the world marks International Vulture Awareness Day.
“The Eagle Encounters Cape Vulture Breeding Project aims to establish at least 30 captive breeding pairs to replenish wild populations,” owner, Hank Chalmers, told News24.
Breeding stock vultures are being sourced from African Bird of Prey Sanctuary in KZN and Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Limpopo.
“Eagle Encounters is currently in possession of three pairs for the project which has a time frame of at least 20 years before the reintroduction process,” said Chalmers. “A large enclosure is to be constructed and will include breeding cliffs.”
Vulture numbers in decline
According to Cape Nature ornithologist, Kevin Shaw, vulture numbers are in decline in South Africa as well as the rest of Africa.
“In most cases poisoning by poachers is to blame as vultures serve as a quick warning of nearby rhino carcasses to nature conservation officials,” Shaw told News24.
International Vulture Awareness Day is now recognised as a co-ordinated international day which enables vulture publicity to a wider audience and highlights the important work being carried out by the world’s vulture conservationists, according to the official website.