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YOUR conservation - OUR FOCUS

Objectives

The aim of this programme is to collaborate with other relevant role players in contributing towards:

  • safe vulture restaurants that are responsibly managed
  • capturing vulture sightings that can contribute to their conservation
  • raising awareness among members and the public about the risks to vultures and the needs to conserve them
  • rehabilitation of injured or poisoned vultures
  • conservation of the habitats where vultures feed, rest or breed

Doelwitte

Die doel van hierdie program is om in samewerking met ander relevante rolspelers by te dra tot:

  • veilige aasvoël-restaurante wat verantwoordelik bestuur word
  • die vaslegging van aasvoël-waarnemings wat kan bydra tot hul bewaring
  • bewusmaking onder lede en die publiek oor die risiko’s vir aasvoëls en die noodsaaklikheid om die spesies te bewaar
  • die rehabilitasie van beseerde of vergiftigde aasvoëls
  • die bewaring van die habitats waar aasvoëls aas, rus of broei

Background

Vultures provide critically important ecosystem services by cleaning up carcasses and reducing the risk of the spread of diseases, resulting in economic and health benefits to people. However, worldwide, vultures are among the most threatened group of birds with most species declining and many facing extinction. The ongoing decline of the six vulture species found in South Africa is alarming. Persecution, electrocution, poisoning, and illegal trade in vulture body parts for use in traditional medicine are some of the main reasons for this negative trend.

SA Hunters’ Vulture Heritage Programme includes various initiatives towards vulture conservation. The Association serves on the following forums:

  • National Vulture Task Force – established by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) to guide vulture conservation in South Africa
  • National Wildlife Poison Prevention Working Group (NWPPWG) – established under the auspices of DFFE to address the impacts of poisoning on wildlife, including vultures
  • National Lead Task Team (LTT), a task team of the NWPPW, that serves as a platform for relevant role players to engage constructively to improve their understanding of the risks, challenges, and best approaches towards reducing the risks of harm to wildlife from exposure to lead from all significant sources, including lead ammunition

 

SA Hunters also has other initiatives that support vulture conservation. The General De la Rey Branch is managing a busy vulture restaurant near Lichtenburg where as many as 200 vultures visit the site at times. Sourcing and collecting of suitable risk-free carcasses to feed vultures is an ongoing task.

Poisoned and electrocuted vultures are collected and attended to in collaboration with the Vulpro Rehabilitation Centre where injured and ill birds are treated, rehabilitated and released, where possible. The children inf the Gen De La Rey Branch are introduced to vultures at the vulture restaurant where they learn about the biology of the birds, threats and measures to reduce human-induced impacts.

Vultures is also one of the species listed on SA Hunters’ Sightings App that members use to collect data on vulture sightings. Data is used in bona fide conservation initiatives.

Agtergrond

Aasvoëls bied krities-belangrike ekosisteemdienste deur karkasse op te ruim en die risiko vir die verspreiding van siektes te verminder, wat ekonomiese en gesondheidsvoordele vir mense inhou. Tog is aasvoëls wêreldwyd een van die mees bedreigde groepe voëls, met die meeste spesies wat agteruitgang toon en talle wat uitwissing in die gesig staar. Die aanhoudende agteruitgang van die ses aasvoëlspesies wat in Suid-Afrika voorkom, is kommerwekkend. Vervolging, elektrokusie, vergiftiging, en die onwettige handel in aasvoëlliggaamsdele vir gebruik in tradisionele medisyne is onder die hoofredes vir hierdie negatiewe tendens.

SA Jagters se Aasvoël Erfenisprogram sluit verskeie inisiatiewe in vir die bewaring van aasvoël. Die Vereniging dien op die volgende forums:

  • Nasionale Aasvoël Taakspan – gestig deur die Departement van Bosbou, Visserye en die Omgewing (DBVO) wat leiding gee vir aasvoëlbewaring in Suid-Afrika
  • Nasionale werkgroep vir die voorkoming van vergiftiging van wildlewe (NWPPWG) – gestig onder die beskerming van DBVO om die impak van vergiftiging op wildlewe, insluitend aasvoëls, aan te spreek
  • Nasionale Lood-taakspan (LTT), ‘n taakspan van die NWPPWG, wat as ‘n platform dien vir relevante rolspelers om doelgerig betrokke te raak by die bewusmaking van die risiko’s, uitdagings en beste benaderings om die risiko van die blootstelling aan lood vanuit alle bronne – insluitend lood ammunisie – te verminder

 

SA Jagters het ook ander inisiatiewe wat aasvoëlbewaring ondersteun. Die Genl. De la Rey-tak bestuur ‘n besige aasvoëlrestaurant naby Lichtenburg waar tot 200 aasvoëls soms die terrein besoek. Die insameling van geskikte, risikovrye karkasse om die voëls te bly voer, is ‘n voortgesette taak.

Vergiftigde aasvoëls of voëls wat beseer is deur oorhoofse elektriese kabels word met die hulp van Vulpro Aasvoëlrehabilitasiesentrum hanteer wat beseerde en siek voëls behandel, rehabiliteer en, waar moontlik, vrylaat. By die Lichtenburg aasvoëlrestaurant leer die kinders van die Genl. De La Rey-tak oor die biologie en bedreigings van aasvoëls, en maatreëls om die mens se impak te verminder.

Aasvoëls is ook een van die spesies wat gelys is op SA Jagters se waarnemings-App wat lede gebruik om data oor aasvoëlwaarnemings te versamel. Die data word gebruik in bona fide bewaringsinisiatiewe.

Grondeienaars wat belangstel om wildlewe habitat te bewaar, kan registreer om deel te word van die Bewaarders van ons Wildlewe inisiatief.

Who can participate

There are several different initiatives under vulture conservation programme that cater for landowners, hunters, ordinary members and the public.

What to expect

  • Any member can log vultures sightings (dead or alive) on the App. Download the App from the play store, install it on your phone, and add information about sightings.
  • Hunters can reduce the risk of lead poisoning in vultures by donating only carcasses shot with lead-free ammunition to vulture feeding sites.
  • Hunters can switch to lead-free ammunition or follow the guidelines when using lead-based ammunition to reduce risks to vultures.
  • Provide safe vulture feeding sites/vulture restaurants according to these guidelines (B).
  • Monitor (A) vulture at feeding sites and record sightings.
  • Landowners and wildlife managers can register their properties as wildlife heritage sites and/or participate in the Vulture Safe Zone
  • Contact Vulpro immediately if any sick or injured birds are observed.
  • Join a Battle of the Bullets event near you to gain more insights into the impact of lead ammunition on vultures and available alternatives.
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Wie kan deelneem

Die aasvoëlbewaringsprogram sluit verskillende inisiatiewe in waarby grondeienaars, jagters, gewone lede en die publiek kan inskakel.

Wat om te verwag

  • Enige lid kan aasvoëlwaarnemings (dood of lewendig) op die App log. Laai die App af van die play store, installeer op jou foon, en voeg inligting oor waarnemings by.
  • Jagters kan die risiko van loodvergiftiging in aasvoëls verminder deur slegs karkasse wat met loodvrye ammunisie geskiet is aan aasvoëlrestaurante te skenk.
  • Jagters kan oorskakel na loodvrye ammunisie of die riglyne volg wanneer hulle lood-gebaseerde ammunisie gebruik om die risiko vir aasvoëls te verminder.
  • Voorsien veilige aasvoëlrestaurante volgens bepaalde riglyne (B).
  • Monitor (A) aasvoëls by voerplekke en teken waarnemings aan.
  • Grondeienaars en wildlewebestuurders kan hul eiendomme registreer as wildlewe-erfenisterreine en/of deelneem aan die Aasvoël Veilige Sone inisiatief
  • Skakel Vulpro onmiddellik as enige siek of beseerde voëls waargeneem word.
  • Sluit aan by ʼn Battle of the Bullets geleentheid naby jou vir beter insig in die impak van loodammunisie op aasvoëls en beskikbare alternatiewe.
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Enquiries / Navrae:

Conservation in action

Februarie 2024

Luister gerus na ’n gesprek met die alombekende dr Gerhard Verdoorn op Grootplaas waaar hy sy kennis op die gebied van aasvoëlbewaring deel. Dr Verdoorn is ’n voormalige president en visepresident bewaringsaangeleenthede van die S A Jagters- en Wildbewaringsvereniging en dien steeds op die vereniging se bewaringskomitee.

View on YouTube

February 2023

Comment has been invited by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy, on the Draft Multi-species Biodiversity Management Plan for Vultures in South Africa.

The Draft Multi-species Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) was published in Government Gazette 47632 (Notice No. 2817) on 2 December 2022 in terms of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (NEMBA).  Members of the public have 30 days from date of publication of the Notice to submit comments to the Department.

Africa is home to 11 of the 15 species of what are known as Old World vultures.  These birds play a crucial role in the environments in which they live by cleaning up animal carcasses in the veld thus helping ecosystems to remain healthy.

Vulture populations have declined considerably in most range states in Africa in the last 30 years. Because of a lack of collective and decisive action these declines are continuing.  The situation in South Africa, which is home to nine vulture species, is not unique.

Of the nine species found in South Africa, seven have been known to have established breeding populations in the species range state.. All of these face varying threats of extinction. 

The cliff-nesting species are the Bearded Vulture and the Cape Vulture, while tree-nesting species include the Hooded Vulture, White-backed Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, White-headed Vulture and Palm-nut Vulture. The Egyptian Vulture, although once considered a resident breeding species, has not bred within South Africa since the 1920’s and is considered a non-breeding species for the purpose of this BMP.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species (2021), three of the seven vulture species that breed in South Africa have moved from globally Vulnerable or Endangered to Critically Endangered between the 2014 and 2015 assessment periods. These are the White-headed, Hooded and White-backed Vulture.

As a result of the continued decline in vulture populations, a BMP for vulture species found in South Africa has been developed through an intensive consultation process to ensure the future growth of these populations within the country by ensuring a safe and secure environment in which all the components of a vulture’s life cycle are fulfilled.

This will be achieved through the reduction of the key threats facing the species, including intentional and unintentional poisoning, collisions with powerlines and other energy infrastructure, habitat change, as stakeholder involvement in the conservation of the species is improved and communities, including traditional medicine practitioners, are educated about the importance of the birds in the ecological cycle. It will ensure the implementation of responsible and sustainable practices that will contribute to the conservation of the species. The adoption of the Draft BMP will also ensure South Africa meets its obligations within the Convention on Migratory Species Multi-Species Action Plan for Vultures.

Members of the public are invited to submit written comment on the Draft Biodiversity Management Plan to the following addresses:

By post to: The Director-General: Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

Attention: Humbulani Mafumo, Private Bag, PRETORIA, 0001

By hand at:      Environment House, 473 Steve Biko Road, Arcadia, Pretoria, 0083

By email here

The Draft BMP for Vultures can be accessed here

For media requests contact Albi Modise on 083 490 2871

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