Jul 9, 2009


The greatest concern for anyone working for the environment is: ‘what is the final outcome of our Vultures?’ Specifically our Cape Vultures, where can they go? where can they be safe and live without the fear of meeting death before their time?
It seems that these places are becoming few and far apart! Between dodging electric fences and steering clear of power lines these amazing birds now have to live under the constant threat that the next meal they eat may possibly be their last.

On Wednesday evening the 01st July  just as everything was winding down for the day - we received a phone call – a Cape Vulture had been found and it seemed to be paralyzed…. ! The Vulture was rushed to us, where it was given the normal procedure of being checked over and the conclusion was that it was as a result of poisoning. This is yet another of the hundreds that are brought into the Moholoholo Rehab Centre due to poisoning.
As no others were found in the area it is assumed that this vulture flew a fair distance after eating the poisoned carcass. This carcass had more than likely been laid out for a “pesky predator” that was causing disturbance in the area. However, in the animal world, food is not to be wasted and many a Vulture and predator would partake in the offerings of a full carcass left out in the open. This means that the damage would be profound!

When the vulture was brought in, its crop was full to the brim with water. He was driven by a burning thirst, as a result of the poison. After 24 hours his crop had still not drained and he could hardly hold his head upright. Sadly, despite all efforts and constant care we were not able to pull the vulture through.
When poisoned, Vultures experience paralysis, they also attempt to vomit, eventually have diarrhea, the eyes droop and they do not react when picked up. The extent of the symptoms also depends on the volume of poison they have consumed and the species.
These Vulture’s numbers are already hideously low, tallying in at a minuscule number that is ever decreasing. Each Vulture that is lost as a result of man is another step closer to the extinction of a bird that is a vital link in the complex chain of life out in the wild which we cannot afford to loose.

Please report any sightings of tagged Vultures with the location to Brian Jones at: moholorehab@vodamail.co.za or Phone: +27 (01)5 79 55 236 or Fax: +27 (0)15 79 55 333
You will find the tag on the wings.