Vulture Tracking

In addition to establishing vulture safe zones, BWZ joined forces with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and Endangered Wildlife Trust to collect data on vulture movements. With support from the Raptor Research Foundation – Leslie Brown Foundation and Hawk Conservancy Trust, a combined team of BWZ and EWT staff were able to tag and place tracking units on 4 vultures at Lemba farm in Chisamba IBA. We are very grateful to Dr Ralph Buij (Wageningen University – Netherlands) who donated GSM units and wildlife computers (US) who provided the satellite units. You can read more about this at;

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https://www.birdlife.org/africa/news/birdwatch-zambia-collects-data-about-vulture-movements

It is always exciting to get re-sighting reports on our well-travelled tagged Vultures, from conservation partners as well as individual people in different parts of the country and beyond. We have been lucky to receive information from various organizations and people concerning the whereabouts of these Vultures, especially those that do not have tracking units or those that cannot transmit because they are outside coverage area.

In August 2017, a combined team from DNPW, BirdWatch Zambia, Endangered Wildlife Trust and private farm owners at Lemba (Mubanga) and Fringilla Farms in Chisamba tagged 4 vultures. 1 Hooded Vulture with wing tags, ring and a satellite tracking unit, 2 White-backed Vultures with wing tags, rings and GSM tracking units and 1 White-backed vulture with ring and wing tags. The wing tags used are bright green in color with coding ranging from Z027 to Z030. A follow-up effort was undertaken in August 2018, within Chisamba IBA, during which an additional 9 vultures; Z001 to Z009 were tagged and fitted with tracking units

Vulture tagging is an important conservation effort that is being implemented by a combined team of conservationists. It is a vital way of obtaining information on movements, habitat range and the distance travelled by Vultures. It also helps understand the routes these birds take, the areas they forage in, their rousting spots and also their survival rate.

2017 tagged-Movements

Figure 2 Z027 Movements after tagging

 

2018 Tagged -Movements

  • Z006 and Z007 Vultures were tagged from Lemba Farm on the 23nd and fitted with solar-powered transmitters. They were named Mubanga and Lemba respectively. The other 2 that were tagged from Fringilla on the 24th; Z008 and Z009 were also fitted with Solar-powered transmitters and named Fringilla and Precision respectively.
  • Z006 travelled south and spent time in the Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe. Fringilla spent time in the Kafue National Park to the northwest before flying back to the feeding sites late in the 3rd week of August. Precision was the most adventurous and has moved southwest to the Zambezi-province of Namibia and northern Botswana.

 Figure 7: Movements of vultures tagged in August 2018

  • Z006 was seen on an African Buffalo Carcass in Bwabwata National Park in Zambezi region of Namibia 0n the 13th of October, 2018. This bird was tagged and fitted with GSN tracking unit and the map herewith shows its movements, it frequented 4 countries in & 7 weeks.

  • Z007 Lemba after being tagged at around mid-morning had covered quite some kilometres, later in the afternoon, he transmitted from Palabana, a place between Lusaka and Chongwe

Recent re-sightings reports show Z009 spotted in Busanga Plains on October 30th 2018 and on Sunday 18th of November, 2018, Z003 was spotted in Mfuwe by DNPW scouts and safari guides.

 

HOW TO REPORT VULTURE SIGHTINGS

Please make note of the location and time of the sighting, tag number and colour, and species, as well as any information on the behavior of the animal. Photographs are also welcome.

We look forward to more information on movements and re-sighting of these well-toured birds!!!