Vulture Monitoring Program
The flight maps area very interesting, and could be valuable for data against the cable way. Perhaps a permanent link at the bottom of the page?
Vultures are an important ecological component, occurring at the top of the food chain. Healthy vulture population numbers are a clear indication of a well balanced environment. Vultures also play an important cultural, economic and aesthetic role, and are a symbol of our national heritage.
The vulture performs a number of important tasks which are vitally beneficial to humans, as well as the environment at large. These tasks include their “clean-up” properties; ridding the environment of decomposing carcasses. This prevents the spread of diseases such as anthrax, brucellosis and rabies. In India, the eradication of vultures through poisoning has been responsible for the ongoing rabies epidemic.
What will we do if the very emblem of the Drakensberg Park goes extinct?
So its great to see interest in the vultures, like this post, as well as the write-up on the vultures at Golden Gate that Highlands Fanatic posted recently.
I have added the menu link at the bottom as requested. It links to their "satellite" blog tag which seems to list all their monitoring updates quite nicely.
As for the impact of a cableway, this is one of the major objections to the proposal. One of the leading causes of vulture mortality is cables - the birds unfortunately do not seem to be able to avoid them terribly well. In the 50/50 documentary on the cableway proposal, the consultant of the feasibility study was quoted as saying that he himself is concerned about the impact on the vultures. He did however say that he believed that the bearded vultures are not critically endangered (which they actually are), and that he believed that some sort of mitigation measure could be found.
The next step after "Critically Endangered" is extinction. To date there are no known prevention measures that successfully prevent them from colliding with cables. With 350 birds left in southern Africa, which clearly are critically endangered, we have no room left to experiment with potential mitigation measures!
The southern African Bearded Vulture population has been reduced to just 350 birds, and is listed as critically endangered. The entire population resides in the Maloti-Drakensberg mountain range, and this is the only viable population remaining in the southern Hemisphere.
Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.