Lammergeier, lammervanger or bearded vulture – this majestic bird that might have slipped under the survival radar had Sonja Kruger and her task team not been keeping a close eye on them. While bearded vultures are not threatened globally, in South Africa there are fewer than 300 individuals left in the wild.
The vultures are threatened by, among other factors, the traditional medicine trade, range contraction, poisoning and disturbances while feeding.
Together with the Bearded Vulture Task Force and other conservationists, Bonne tries to solve the unanswered questions about the habits of this endangered bird. On the cliffs and crags of the Drakensberg, adventure sports meet scientific technology as we take a peep at the juveniles in their precariously positioned nests. The adults,with their own set of unique challenges, are monitored differently to the youngsters.
What do the tagging and DNA testing mean for the survival of this species? What else needs to be done to save this iconic species in South Africa? Phil Lennon, our trusty producer, has been following the story for five years.
The residents of the Cape Peninsula are continually plagued by the craftiest of thieves and vandals: baboons. The primates can be aggressive, raiding rubbish bins, breaking windows and climbing into cars in a bid for a quick snack. Capetonians react to the problem in different ways, some stoic and accepting, others furious at the seeming lack of control. Cape Nature has had death warrants issued for two of the dominant males that are the biggest troublemakers; another company has adopted a slightly less aggressive stance, employing baboon monitors to dissuade the animals from entering residential areas by shooting them with paint balls. Residents appreciate the wildlife surrounding them, but the damage a baboon can wreak upon an unattended kitchen can be devastating. These highly agile and intelligent creatures learn quickly and when they discover how to steal a quick chocolate bar, why should they have to search for leaves and berries? What measures are being taken to protect both humans and baboons? How can both co-exist?
This is not a new topic to the 50|50 screens but is one that still requires investigation.
In this week’s VeldFokus we meet some cute and cuddly members of a jackal family, a rather hot chameleon and a hungry duiker.