Maloti-Drakensberg’s Vanishing vultures, South Africa
The Maloti-Drakensberg Park (a UNESCO World heritage site) represents the last, southernmost, stronghold for the region’s Critically Endangered Bearded Vulture. There are fewer than 100 breeding pairs left in these mountains, which is also a vital site for the Endangered Cape Vulture. Threatened by poisoning, collisions with energy infrastructure, and habitat loss, the population of vultures relies on livestock carcasses as most of their original, wild food source has been lost. The project will develop self-sustainable conservation hubs around hides and feeding sites to educate and empower community members and visitors, helping communities manage their land and livestock in vulture-friendly manners, removing threats over 150,000ha. Local vulture champions and monitors will manage each site, raising awarensss of the conservation and economic/tourism value of vultures and other local wildlife. River cleanups and production of eco-bricks for construction of hides, will reduce pollution on at least 65 km of senstitive highland river habitat and reductions in the amount of grassland burning will improve soil, reduce erosion and improve carbon sequestering capacities.