Collaboration for Conservation Allowed for the Release of a Cape Vulture to the Potberg Colony

20 Sep 2023

A joint initiative between VulPro, Cango Wildlife Ranch, and CapeNature results in the triumphant rehabilitation and release of a Cape Vulture.

VulPro, based on the outskirts of Hartebeespoort Dam in the Northwest Province, is a specialised vulture conservation organisation that also undertakes specialist rehabilitation of vultures. VulPro collects injured or grounded birds from every corner of South Africa in an effort to reduce losses - giving each bird a second chance of release and survival.

On 31 July 2023, a vulture was observed stuck, hanging by its wing on a telephone pole. The injured vulture eventually fell to the ground, and between VulPro and CapeNature, a team was dispatched to rescue this precious animal. The bird was taken to the Oakhurst Animal Clinic in Swellendam, where it was X-rayed, given fluids, wound treatment, and antibiotics. At VulPro’s request, Cango Wildlife Ranch’s buttons were pressed, and with no hesitation, they departed Oudtshoorn to fetch the bird.

Once the Cango Wildlife Ranch team returned to Oudtshoorn, with the help of their vet at Oudtshoorn Veterinary Clinic, another thorough examination took place. Thankfully, the bird sustained no fractures, and with treatment in hand, the team returned to the facility where the vulture was housed in their onsite care centre, quite ironically, with another Cape Vulture undergoing rehabilitation treatment. Being a social species, this rescue turned out to be a blessing in disguise for both birds, who could provide one another with social support during their healing. It took a few days before this vulture regained strength. Initially, fluid had to be provided subcutaneously to prevent dehydration, but after just a few days, this was no longer necessary, and it was clear that it was well on the road to recovery. Miraculously, both birds healing journeys were parallel, and the birds were moved, together, to an outdoor aviary on their Private Reserve to provide more space, in a more natural setting. Once in the aviary, this vulture improved daily, and in no time, a hidden bush cam captured him flapping his wings and jumping from perch to perch.

Content with the recovery, the vulture was declared eligible for release. VulPro dispatched a representative to Cango Wildlife Ranch, to place a tracker on the bird, and simultaneously, plans were actioned for the release.

In the early hours of 5 September, the vulture was safely crated and Cango Wildlife Ranch, with representatives from CapeNature and VulPro, hit the road enroute to the Potteberg Guest Farm which runs alongside the De Hoop Nature Reserve. Home of the only known vulture colony in the Western Cape.

Within minutes of arriving, the crate was unloaded and carried to an open area. The door of the crate was slid open, and the incredible bird took flight… instinctively knowing exactly where to go, it flew directly towards its colony. And just like that, we were left feeling thankful, proud quite simply… overwhelmed.

This truly amazing success was made possible by the collaboration and care of all parties involved; from the owner of Potteberg Guest Farm, to the wonderful staff at De Hoop Nature Reserve, the public who notified us of the fate of the bird, the efforts of CapeNature, VulPro and their leading expertise, the veterinarians who assisted, and Cango Wildlife Ranch for their housing and care. It just goes to show, together we can achieve so much more… take flight and soar.


Related News

10 Dec 2023 by Carl Brown
A Call for Responsible Engagement with Cape Fur Seals

CapeNature would like to shed light on a matter of growing concern within the region, especially the areas surrounding Cape Town - human-wildlife interactions, specifically those involving Cape fur seals.

Bios Cape blog
22 Nov 2023 by Dr Andrew Turner
Harnessing the Power of NASA’s Technology to Detect Alien Species

When NASA isn’t spending its time exploring the depths of outer space, its lending its technology for the ambitious BioSCape project, which seeks to detect patterns of biodiversity and ecosystem health in the fynbos biome.

Cape Vulture De Hoop 2016 09 14 2
8 Nov 2023 by Kallyn Gunkel
Guardians of the Sky: Cape Vultures in South Africa's Potberg Mountains

The Cape vultures of the Potberg Mountains are not just ecological linchpins but also cultural symbols in parts of southern Africa. CapeNature has been dedicated to the conservation and monitoring of these majestic birds for many years within CapeNature's De Hoop Nature Reserve, where the Potberg Mountains provide vital breeding habitat for the only population of Cape vultures in the Western Cape.

Whats App Image 2023 07 24 at 1 48 31 PM
29 Sep 2023
Cape Zebra Reunites With Family

On July 22, 2023, the CapeNature team from Kammanassie Nature Reserve carried out a critical rescue mission involving a Cape Mountain Zebra (CMZ) on the Diepprivier farm property in the Noll area, situated approximately 30 kilometers from Kammanassie.

Whats App Image 2023 09 28 at 13 14 51
29 Sep 2023
CapeNature and a Community Rally to Save More Than a Thousand Seahorses

CapeNature’s marine rangers led a herculean effort with the support of the community and up to now more than a thousand seahorses were rescued and 720 have been returned to their natural habitat. They are being put back into the estuaries where they usually occur and where there is a huge eelgrass bed where they seek refuge and shelter and where they find their food.

21 Sep 2023 by Kallyn Gunkel and Martine Jordaan
Monitoring of Critically Endangered Geometric Tortoise

The geometric tortoise (Psammobates geometricus), classified as Critically Endangered, ranks among the top 25 most imperilled tortoises and turtles globally. Its future remains uncertain, with an estimated wild population of fewer than 3000. This species is highly specialised in its habitat requirements, historically found in the low-lying renosterveld shrublands of the Swartland, Upper Breede River Valley, and Ceres Valley.