Karoo Vulture Safe Zone
A new partnership between South African National Parks, the Mountain Zebra Camdeboo Protected Environment (MZCPE), Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), the SANParks Honorary Rangers and Birdlife SA will see the creation of a Vulture Safe Zone in the central Karoo to recover Cape Vulture populations that historically frequented and bred in key sites in the region.
The VSZ spans across approximately 23,000 square km in and around three major protected areas: the Karoo, Camdeboo and Mountain Zebra National Parks.
The project team will work with farmers, game breeders and reserves in the area to develop a landscape that will encourage Cape Vultures and other vulture species back to the Karoo.
Historically vultures ranged throughout much of South Africa. Today, populations have dwindled by up to 80% in some areas, including the central Karoo. This is particularly evident for the Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres) which was formally widespread across the Karoo but is currently listed as Endangered both regionally and globally. Major threats include habitat loss, decreasing food supply, electrocutions, and collisions with powerlines and, most predominantly, poisoning (indirect and direct).
The United Nations Environment Programme has developed a global Multi-species Action Plan (MsAP) for the conservation of Africa and Eurasia’s vultures. This involves creating Vulture Safe Zones (VSZs) across strategic sites in South Africa.
Within these zones, the aim is to manage large tracts of land as safe spaces for vultures and other wildlife. This will help to stabilise existing vulture populations and, more importantly, to encourage vultures to return to their traditional home ranges and breeding sites. VSZs could also function as release sites for captive-bred birds and provide benefits for many other non-vulture species.
International Vulture Awareness Day falls on the first Saturday of September every year.
Please visit https://www.givengain.com/cc/karoo-vulture-safe-zone/ to contribute to this worthy cause.