Wilderness Safaris Supports Critical Vulture Conservation Project in Botswana

During the last week of February 2021, Wilderness Safaris assisted Raptors Botswana, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) in an important vulture conservation project. The aim of this particular exercise was to fit satellite tracking devices on six different birds, and five devices were successfully fitted on three different vulture species. The fitting procedure was done quickly with no undue stress to the birds, which were all soaring high again in record time.

Vultures are vital in maintaining ecosystem balance, and are the ultimate ‘clean-up crew’ helping limit the spread of diseases such as anthrax and rabies. But their numbers are plummeting globally. Vultures in Africa face an unprecedented period in time where they battle with many significant threats, including poisoning, power line collisions and electrocutions, direct harvesting for cultural beliefs, and ever-decreasing foraging ranges – and consequently their numbers are dropping at unsustainable levels. Of the five vulture species in Botswana, all are either Critically Endangered or Endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Collaborations like this also affirm Wilderness Safaris’ ongoing commitment to aiding, wherever possible, in the conservation efforts of various African species of conservation concern. Vultures are just as important an ecological component in Africa’s wilderness areas as African elephant, pangolin or lion, and their continued existence is just as essential. It is also important for Wilderness Safaris to monitor population trends of IUCN Red List species present in our areas of operation and support actions to improve their conservation status.