Oribi Gorge Vulture Capture
Colony custodian, Mike Neetling, releases a young cape vulture after it has been successfully weighed,measured and marked.
As part of an ongoing national effort to monitor the cape vulture colonies in South Africa Ben and Shannon Hoffman joined the teams at Oribi Gorge on Monday the 17th of January 2013 in a mass capture and release exercise. Dr. Dana Berens of the Conservation Ecology Faculty of Biology Philipps University in Marburg, Germany headed up this project.”We want to investigate the movement of the endemic Cape vultures among their nest colonies and therefore potential gene flow,” she said. To do this, five GPS loggers were attached to first year birds to follow their dispersal after fledging. Many vultures were captured over four days and wing tags were applied and blood samples and measurements taken.
Mike and Heidi Neetling are on site custodians to this colony and were relieved to report that the birds showed little post-capture stress and resumed feeding at the restaurant almost immediately. Many were re-sighted roosting on their normal cliff ledges. Data downloaded from the satellitte transmitters carried by the recent fledglings will reveal interesting beahviour and so far some of these young birds have flown as far as Lesotho!