VulPro celebrates their tenth anniversary in Vulture conservation

VulPro, a world leading organisation in the field of vulture conservation, conservation breeding and rehabilitation, celebrates their tenth anniversary this week with a fundraising gala dinner and auction on Spring Day, Friday 1st of September.

They also run a wide range of environmental education and outreach programmes. Their central facility, just outside Hartbeespoort in the Magaliesberg mountains of the North West Province is home to 160 birds of eight different species. Each year, dozens of birds are treated for injuries or illness and rereleased back into the wild. In addition, VulPro runs two supplementary feeding sites which have been known to attract upwards of 250 birds at a time.

The captive breeding facilities are world class and this season, birds will be reintroduced back into a natural colony in a ground breaking process of gradual assimilation that may change the way captive conservation-bred birds are managed forever.

VulPro runs a wide range of projects, from education of local school kids at their afternoon Roots and Shoots programme, to the training of local veterinarians by world experts in avian surgery. Their captive breeding programme is very successful and their advocacy programmes include working hard with Eskom to make the country’s infrastructure safe for large birds.

VulPro plays an important role in expanding our knowledge of vultures with fifty peer reviewed articles now published, covering research from the impact of cattle drugs on vultures to the state of our wild bird populations. Birds that were tagged at VulPro have been tracked as far south as KwaZulu-Natal and as far north as Angola and Zambia.

Vultures are vital to our ecosystem, clearing up carcasses and preventing the spread of diseases through livestock and human populations. Africa’s vultures are under severe threat, following the lead of the Asian vulture crisis which saw the vulture population plunge by 99% in a generation.
West Africa has lost most of their vultures and southern African vultures have been under pressure for many years. Age old threats such as habitat loss and collisions and electrocutions from powerlines have now been joined by newer problems such as the poisoning of birds by rhino and elephant poachers and the increased use of vultures in the muthi trade.

International vulture awareness day is an opportunity for everyone involved in vulture conservation around the world to join in efforts to publicise the plight of these magnificent creatures. There are a number of world class organisations working on vultures in South Africa and our scientists and conservationists play an active role in the global effort to conserve vultures and condors.
Kerri Wolter started VulPro in 2007 after having worked with vultures for the Endangered Wildlife Trust and the De Wildt Cheetah Centre. She has dedicated her life to working with these birds and, in so doing, has become a world expert in the captive breeding and rehabilitation of Cape Vultures in particular.

Her work has included co-authoring a wide range of research articles and passionate advocacy for the safety and care of African vultures. Her awards include being a finalist for the Tusk Conservation in Africa award for 2013, PAAZA Conservation Awards for 2015 and 2016, the Endangered Wildlife Trust Vulture Conservationist of the Year award for 2012 and a WESSA Lifetime Achievement in Conservation Award.

Simon Gear is the environmental and science correspondent for Primedia Broadcasting (Talk Radio 702 and 94.7 in Johannesburg and 567 Cape Talk and KFM, Cape Town). He has anchored South Africa’s premier environmental TV show, 50|50 and presented the weather on all of the SABC’s domestic and international TV channels from 1999 until 2014. He runs his own environmental consultancy which focuses on climate change, energy issues and air quality modelling. Simon is an active conservationist, having spent three years working for BirdLife South Africa and now working particularly with vultures through his voluntary work with VulPro.

For more information contact:
Kerri Wolter: Cell: 082 808 5113 Email: kerri.wolter@gmail.com Website: www.vulpro.com
Simon Gear: Cell: 082 821 4975 Email: simongear@gmail.com

Material supplied by VulPro