Cape Griffon Vulture Research


 Cape Griffon Vulture

June 2004

Jorg  Diekmann built for REST what is probably one the most successful capture aviaries in the world.  To date, REST has captured over 1,000 vultures.   This has been key for fitting our satellite telemetry and ringing or banding and patagial tagging.  Ringing and tagging allows us to differentiate between individual birds when seen in the wild.  Interestingly enough, we believed that the one disadvantage to feeding weekly is that we would habituate the wild birds to feed at our site.  With ringing and tagging, we have discovered that the visiting rate is in fact very low and most birds continue with their natural foraging.

REST is looking for a special sponsor to build a new capture aviary at the centre.  Maria and the experts involved in the captures, have come up with many improvements that they are excited to incorporate into the new capture aviary.  Captures are so important because we usually not only fit a bird with tracking telemetry, but until now almost very bird caught has been weighed, measured, photographed and tagged. This work adds extensively to the data bases on these magnificent birds.

REST has also been very fortunate that no vulture has ever been severely injured in any capture.  That is an almost unheard of statistic.  Many have joined us in captures, but the 'dream team' must all be there before a capture is performed.  Tim Osborne collecting blood, Laurel Osborrne writing down all data,  Mike and Ann Scott fitting telemetry, Gerhard ver Dorrn or Jorg Diekmann were the only two in the past who I trusted with the hard task of capturing each bird in the hand and passing to the handler. Our past vet ingrid is sorely missed.

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