Cape Griffon Vulture Research

Satellite TelemetrySatellite Telemetry

June 2004

REST is very fortunate to have been the first in Africa to fit satellite telemetry to a vulture.  While exciting, this was also a bit scary and we thank in particular, Bill Woodley from Israel, for his support in the design of our harness.  We found that Microwave Telemetry from the USA has developed a superior satellite telemetry unit and their customer service is fantastic.  We began this program in January 2004 and to date have fit ten vultures with telemetry.  Currently only six birds have units fitted.  The data coming in is much better than we ever anticipated.  We gather approximately five-to-six direct locations a day.  The information is downloaded to Argos in France and sent to REST via the Internet.  Once the units were fitted we began discovering information never believed possible.  We have now found that at least one and probably three of our adult male Cape Griffons are possibly interbreeding with female white backed vultures.  We believe the original population became so low and with only two females of eight adult birds, the males found mates in their cousin - the white backed vulture.

One bird has crossed Namibia’s border three times - she has traveled to Angola a number of times - once 400 km inland - and traveled across to Botswana and Zambia, even venturing along the borders of Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Back to Cape Griffon Vulture Research