In 2009, three African White-backed Vultures at Dronfield Game Farm (Kimberley, South Africa) were fitted with tracking devices. One vulture was fitted with a GPS device (similar to 2008), whilst two other birds received satellite PTTs (Platform Terminal Transmitters). It is hoped that more valuable information about the foraging ranges of these birds will be obtained.
Results from 2008 were encouraging, and showed that young African White-backed Vultures forage over large parts of the African sub-continent in their first year. Although not completely unexpected, it was the scale and speed of the movements that have proved interesting. The limitations of battery-powered transmitters were evident last year, and with the implementation of two solar-powered satellite transmitters in 2009, we are looking forward to receiving movement data over a much longer period.
The African White-backed Vulture project remains a partnership between Hawk Conservancy Trust, BirdLife South Africa, De Beers and Gauntlet Birds of Prey.
Below is an image of the area where the birds were located recently. Clicking on the image of a bird will bring up its individual movemants. More details and video about the project.
Data on the birds’ locations is collected by the units in the birds’ backpacks and retransmitted to the tracking station. On occasion, the bird’s location and/or position can be out of transmision range. When this happens the unit cannot transmit the relevant data, which will result in there being no data for that bird on that particular day.
Check back here regularly to follow the birds' progress.