Cape Griffon Vulture Research


March 20, 2008

No one believed REST when founder Maria Diekmann started reported sightings of unusually marked vultures - half cape griffon and half white backed vulture.  During REST’s second capture of capes to fit satellite telemetry, one of these suspected hybrids was not only seen but captured.  She became Teabag, sponsored by Ned and Diana Twining. 

DNA was taken and permits have beenapplied for to send the samples to Juan Jose Negro, an expert in Spain.  With her fitted telemetry, nine month old Teabag flew back to Skybanker’s nest, leading us to believe that she was his chick.  On 25 April 2004, Teabag was kicked off thenest presumably because they began to lay a new egg.  She had many long distance andinteresting flights before dying close to REST on 1 January 2005.

Unfortunately her autopsy was inconclusive, but it appears as if she died of poisoning.  Last year the chick from the same parents was predated by a tawny eagle.  Another chick hatched on the 6 July 2005 and was monitored by air on a weekly basis.  DNA samples were also taken. 

As of March 2008, it is believed another cape fitted with telemetry, Dragonrider, mated with a whitebacked vulture.  In June 2008, a research team began a four day survey of parental patterns to determine if indeed this could be another hybrid.  DNA samples of the chick were also taken. 

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