It is sad that this vulture may become extinct within this century.........hopefully the people from KZN who are tracking some of them by satellite will come up with an answer that will save this bird.
PNF, conservation is a complex issue. I wish it was as simple as speaking a magic word, but alas... the footprint of modern man cannot be wiped away that easily! The people you refer to (in partnership with many others) are trying their utmost to turn the fortunes of the bearded vulture around.
The South Africa Ministry of Environmental Affairs has structures in place for Management Plans for endangered species. The intention to put in place such a management plan has been published for the Bearded Vulture in the Government Gazette
for comment by the public. The deadline for comment is 25 August 2013.
The BMP makes interesting reading and astounded me with the extent of research that is still required for the implementation team to understand the numerous threats, causes of mortality, survival rates and breeding successes/failures. The operational goals of the BMP management team focus hugely on data gathering, increasing awareness, growing their communications network and raising funds. Reading through the BMP brought home to me what an enormous undertaking such a BMP is.
Data gathering strategies include satellite tracking of an increased number of birds, tagging of as much as 10% of the total population and implementing a re-sighting program, monitoring of nest sites and conducting bird counts at feeding sites and along specific road routes. Genetic comparison with the bearded vultures in East Africa is required to determine if reintroduction from that population is a conservation option. I can only hope that the situation never deteriorates to the extent where that option becomes a solution.
All of these objectives and actions have no direct and immediate impact on the well-being of the bearded vulture population. The only such intervention published in the BMP is the goal to improve the amount and quality of food available to the vultures and even that set of actions has an extensive time component preventing immediate value. For the population size to stop declining, the combined benefit of 108 listed actions must come in effect.
The BMP implementation will be assessed annually and reviewed every five years.
At least the ball is rolling...