Vulpro and partners take major step in Egyptian Vulture conservation in South Africa.

In a significant move to restore Egyptian Vultures as a breeding species in South Africa, Vulpro – in collaboration with the World Bird Sanctuary and the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance – has successfully relocated two endangered Egyptian Vultures to VulPro @Shamwari.

The arrival of the pair at VulPro’s facility at Shamwari Private Game Reserve outside Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape marks the beginning of a groundbreaking breeding programme aimed at reintroducing these majestic birds into their native habitat. Vulpro@Shamwari is the only such rehabilitation, research, education and breeding facility in Africa.

The Egyptian Vulture, known for its distinctive yellow face and white plumage, has faced a catastrophic decline in population due to poisoning, electrocution from powerlines, and collection for traditional medicine. With wild populations in Africa plummeting by more than 90% over the last three generations, the species has been declared extinct in South Africa.

Vulpro, under the leadership of CEO Kerri Wolter, has been at the forefront of vulture conservation for over two decades: "Egyptian Vultures have been a species of much debate in South Africa since the start of my career in vulture conservation, some 21 years ago. The species was listed as extinct as a breeding species decades ago, and there has been much debate about whether a reintroduction of Egyptian Vultures is feasible.

“The recent integration of this objective into South Africa’s National Vulture Biodiversity Management Plan has paved the way for this ambitious reintroduction programme.

Obtaining the correct sub-species of African Egyptian Vultures has proven challenging, with breeding programmes in Europe often taking priority. However, with the support of the World Bird Sanctuary, we are making this objective a reality. For the first time in decades, two African Egyptian Vultures are joining Vulpro’s breeding programme, with the goal of reintroducing the species into South Africa,” Wolter added.

The birds, now in quarantine, were transported under strict international guidelines to

ensure their safety and well-being during the journey. Their arrival marks a significant step forward in this joint effort to preserve this globally threatened species.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve CEO Joe Cloete said: “Vultures deliver vital ecosystem services in our natural, rural and agricultural environments. They have an indispensable role in the cycling of nutrients through the disposal of organic waste from the environment.

“The arrival of Egyptian Vultures is a major milestone, following on the largest relocation of vultures ever undertaken, which saw 163 Cape and African White-backed vultures moved from Vulpro’s facility at Hartebeespoort to Shamwari earlier this year.”

“The project at Vulpro@Shamwari has also been made possible through the support of the Olsen Animal Trust, which has enabled the building of new enclosures specific to the Egyptian Vulture. It’s a testament to the power of international collaboration in wildlife conservation.”

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