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January - March 2010 / # 1
2 hours ago our wandering female harrier from the west In this issue:
coast flew straight into the heart of Lesotho! She is now close to a smal stream in a high altitude val ey, about 1 More travels by Lockie . . . . . . Rob Simmons 32 km from the Katse Dam. She has flown a straight line distance of 1173 km from her coastal "home" near 2 Farmer found guilty of poisoning vultures Paternoster to these mountains.
3 West Coast Harriers . . . . . . . Rob Simmons 6 Feb A new development in the continuing harrier saga.
Our female from the west coast left Lesotho and is 3 Manica, Namibia sponsorship seemingly headed for Swaziland! She moves 226 km from the south end of Katse Dam in highland Lesotho to 3 Vulture movements recorded by satelite 56km NW of Newcastle. Her route appeared to take her through Royal Natal National Park and Sterkfontein 4 Abuse of pesticides . . . . . . . . Liz Komen 5 Wildlife poisoning in Africa . . . . . Birdlife Africa 7 Feb North of Memel in farmland.
6 New drug threatens vultures . . . . . . . AFP 8 Feb Moving towards Swaziland, 11 km north of 6 White-backed Vulture at NaDEET . Andreas Keding 10 Feb About 6 km east of the towns of Vrede and Thembalilhe in the northern Free State.
More travels by Lockie, the Black Harrier
She has now covered over 1580 km from her west Coast "home" to the northern Free State border, and that assumes In Raptors Namibia 6 of Nov/Dec 2009, we reported on the she flies in straight lines (like those crows). Lockie has real y interesting movements of a Black Harrier female fit ed with been a "pay-back" bird - cut ing through al the theories we a satel ite tracking devise. Rob Simmons reported that like had about Black Harrier migration/nomadism and repaying al good South Africans, the female, known as Lockie, the work involved in get ing her tagged. She has set led, for headed for the coast during the summer holidays and spent now, about 20 km east of Vrede in some rol ing grasslands time in the Roche Pan area and near Cape Columbine over in the northern Free State.
the coastal fynbos.
Trevor Oertel from Vrede, who knows the area intimately, On 5 Jan 2010, she flew over Vredenburg to west of reports that: (i) there have been very good rains there (i ) on Hopefield. Not liking what she found, she headed about 7 Feb a termite emergence occurred, as Lockie overnight back to Cape Columbine. On 28 Jan, Rob arrived (i i) and no less than 4 species of Francolin occur in the hil s and val eys. Trevor has been scouring the area to try to locate our harrier but has had no luck yet.
"If you thought we were get ing a handle on the coastward movements of our highland breeding harriers, think again! 14 Feb She is close to a river that runs north-south through Lockie the female harrier we have tracked for the last three months, from Niewoudtvil e to Karoo Poort to Roche Pan to Paternoster, over about 280 km, is gone. 600 km inland!' 22 Feb Sad news… our ground-breaking harrier has flown Here is her recent travelogue.
25 Jan Freshwater Bay near Paternoster on South Africa's Her signal became becalmed between 14 and 17 February west coast (she's been here for the last 2 months) in the grasslands 10 km east of Vrede. Trevor Oertel tried to find her, but without success. I became more concerned that 26 Jan (7:24 pm) suddenly moved 310 km east - 40 km short she was not moving and asked Trevor to check a smal of Fraserburg in the Karoo! marsh close to the R543. On Friday 19 Feb Trevor and his two assistants, Champ and Mashona located her, dead in 27 Jan (7:09 pm) 610 km east from Paternoster, 21 km past the marsh near a smal stream. She was stil wearing her transmit er, but was emaciated and head down in the grass.
3 Feb An early morning update to say that lit le more than Continued on page2 January - March 2010 / # 1 – Page 2 At empting to piece together what may have caused her For those contemplating using (or who are using ) satel ite demise, Trevor photographed and then took her to the local tags, the main lessons learned from this exercise are (i) the vet who X-rayed her. They did not reveal any obvious results almost always blow away any (untested) theories one injuries or trauma, but he estimated that she had died "24- may have had about your study animal's movements. She 48 h before", or on 17 Feb. This was based on maggots crossed the world range of this global y vulnerable species that can be a relatively accurate guide to the date of demise.
in less than 2 weeks when she should have stayed on the west coast! (i ) the harness should be fit ed very snugly - Smal overhead power lines about 12 m away suggest she not tightly - for the periods when species may natural y lose may have hit them, but we cannot rule out other causes.
One of these was that 3-4 secondaries had been pul ed through the harness on her right side and this may have My sincere thanks to Trevor and his two assistants for their impeded her progress. This seems unlikely given the huge enormous help in locating and then determining why our distance she covered since 25 Jan, that took her 1600 km restless female came to rest. Thanks to Natural Research from the West coast of South Africa to the eastern highveld (Ltd) UK, Hawk Mountain and the FitzPatrick for their funding grasslands of the Free State in 13 days.
support of this project.
Farmer found guilty of poisoning vultures
According to information received, three Lappet-faced Vultures were poisoned on a farm in the Maltahöhe area in late 2009. The Mariental of ice of the Ministry Environment and Tourism, managed by warden Elton Kuruseb investigated the case. A farmer was charged and released on N$1500 bail. He was later found guilty and fined N$300.
This must be a first in Namibia. Someone found guilty of kil ing vultures. There is hope! Thanks to Elton Kuruseb and One of the dead vultures was ringed at Gemsbokwater in the Lappet-faced Vultures flying over the Namib. Vulture on nest in Namib-Naukluft Park in 2004 by Ann Scot with one of Marc Dürr's the tree on the right January - March 2010 / # 1 – Page 3 West Coast Harriers
A recent volunteer for the harrier project, Kirsten Retief, reports three nests at the Oliphants River on the South African 1 One flying youngster at the mouth 2 One flying youngster up stream 3 A nest with two about-to-fledge youngsters stil with some down, at the first big bend up 4 A possible fourth nest given that there are another two young flying around unassociated to any known nest! Two new nests have been reported from above the Cape Vulture colony at De Hoop by Kevin Shaw. Nicky Hess reported a nest with three wel grown chicks on the east side Cronje Grane of Manica Namibia, handing over Manica's of the river mouth at De Mond.
donation for the Vultures Namibia ringing and tagging project in Gerald Wingate reports a harrier from Bontebok National the Namib-Naukluft Park, to Peter Bridgeford Park, foraging between the of ice and the main gate. There are no birds reported nesting here this season.
Vulture movements recorded by satel ite.
Kevin Shaw and Nicky Hess conspired to ring the In Raptors Namibia #4 of June 2008, there was an youngsters (three fledged) from the surviving nest at De interesting article on a vulture project by Orr Spiegel of the Mond, while Jan Hofmeyer kindly ringed a nestling at De Hebrew University of Jerusalem. They caught adult White- backed and Lappet-faced Vultures in Etosha and fit ed them Nickel Fortuin reported final y finding the nest above the with satel ite GPS transmit ers. The map shows the vulture colony at De Hoop, which fledged two young in late movements of these White-backed Vultures.
Botanist Nick Helme reports activity; likely to be a nest in Wilferd Versfeld from MET, Okaukuejo, who is monitoring Kamiesberg, in mid October.
the vulture movements, is curious to know why and what the Kevin Drummond-Hay reports a harrier from N2 highway vultures are feeding on in the area east of Grünau. This is between the Swart Rivier Rd and Bot River. During near the Quiver Tree Forest, a tourist at raction in that area.
December to January, massive fires spread through the Agulhas National Park, so there is unlikely to be breeding Do any of our readers know of a vulture restaurant in that there for the next two - three years.
2010 / #1 – Page 4 Abuse of pesticides
the register were asked for. The 13 warnings on the original container were simply disregarded, as was the capitalized In September, a poisoning event in Caprivi resulted in the statement "FOR PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY". The death of over 75 vultures. Through investigation, a company recommended dilution of this highly concentrated, poisonous in Katima Mulilo was found to be sel ing 100ml bot les of a chemical is 1:100, but on the repackaged il egal bot les, there liquid pesticide. These bot les of repackaged chemicals were no directions for dilution.
were without labels. Whether or not this was the chemical that kil ed the vultures and presumably other animals, is not Pesticides are label ed and colour-coded to protect people.
known. This is in flagrant disregard of human and The pictograms on the labels clearly describe environmental safety, national and international laws and environmental and wildlife safety aspects. Al labels state that in case of any poisoning event, the label should accompany the person to the hospital. This enables medical A range of national and international laws and regulations staf to provide the correct treatment. For al actions govern human and environmental protection. In Namibia, involving packaging, handling, transport, storage and use even though protection for people and the environment is of pesticides, there are clear pictograms and text on the prof ered by the Namibian constitution, the Environmental label. This minimizes the risks that manufacturers know are Management Act, the Hazardous Substances Act, the inherent in their products. Opening and handling of Medicines Act, the Farm Feeds and Fertilizers Act and other pesticides must be done in a control ed environment, such relevant national and international laws, poisoning events as a room with washable floors and adequate air-vents.
keep occurring. Many of these are against wildlife. Amongst Workers must wear protective clothing, including gloves, people, mismanagement of chemicals may also be masks, boots and long sleeved overal s.
implicated in some sudden, unexplained il nesses and even deaths. It is obvious that the various laws relating to Although the inspectors from the MAWF confiscated the pesticides cannot on their own, provide for the safety and il egal y packaged chemicals from the company in Katima security of people and the environment. Safety from Mulilo, the damage that was and could stil be done by pesticides can only be guaranteed when everybody is these unlabel ed bot les is unknown. Numerous laws and equipped with a basic knowledge of these dangerous regulations have been broken and besides the danger to chemicals; complies with values that support the wildlife, there is an obvious increase in the potential for environment and operates within the laws that are there to suicides and homicides.
protect us al .
Few people realize the potential of poisoning through simple In the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), skin absorption. A child accidental y spil ing liquid pesticide on Directorate Extension and Engineering Services, the clothing may return the bot le to the shelf without tel ing an Registrar is responsible for registration and de-registration adult. The poison wil be absorbed through the skin from the of pesticides. Because of the hazardous nature of al contaminated clothing and il ness may occur within hours pesticides, including those termed "organic", stringent or days. The unsuspecting parent wil have no idea that the regulations exist for any activity involving these chemicals.
child was poisoned. If the parents do suspect poisoning, These regulations fulfil the requirements of the Farm Feeds they wil not know whether it was Harmful, Toxic or Highly and Fertilizer Act of 1947. Working with the Registrar is a Toxic. Even if the parents took the unlabled bot le to the smal division that operates as an inspectorate. Inspectors hospital, medical personnel would have no idea what it have authority to inspect any premises dealing with pesticides; to recommend actions; to confiscate products and lay charges when there is mismanagement.
A further criminal of ence that occurred in the Caprivi case and that has been exposed in numerous other pesticide Al pesticides are colour-coded. Groups 4 and 3 are coded sales in Namibia is "ut erance". Pesticide misuse or "of - green and blue and marked "Caution". Group 2 is yel ow label use", is often suggested by sales personnel.
and marked "Harmful". Groups 1a and 1b are colour-coded "Ut erance" is highly dangerous as the unsuspecting public RED and are "Toxic" and "Very Toxic". Recognizing the accepts the advice from sales personnel as coming from an problems with of -label, il egal and careless pesticide use, expert on the products and its uses.
MAWF has for many years insisted that pesticides colour- coded Yel ow (Harmful) and Red (Toxic) may not be on an An appeal is hereby made to al who care about their open shelf. Yel ow and red coded pesticides must be locked personal and their environment's safety, to understand and in a safe place and a register with every purchaser's details be aware of irresponsible behaviour concerning pesticides.
has to be kept for every sale made.
Most of us have poisons in our homes or garages. Misuse of pesticides is an inexcusable criminal activity. Certainly, As part of the investigation after the poisoning of the ignorance is no reason for disregarding the law when lives vultures mentioned above, someone was sent to a local are at stake. Prosecution is probably the best option, business in Katima Mulilo. This buyer had no problem in because it seems that providing protective laws and asking purchasing an unlabel ed bot le of poison and no details for for cooperation on this issue is simply not enough.
January - March 2010 / # 1 – Page 5 Wildlife poisoning in Africa
Kenya, Martin Odino from the National Museums of Kenya Birdlife (AfricanBirding) Release, 30-11-200 and af iliated with Wildlife Direct, with funding from the Sent to Raptors Namibia by Linda Mil ington
African Bird Club and Ruf ord Smal Grants, is working with BirdLife has learnt that a widely available poison is being Nature Kenya (BirdLife Partner) to quantify the threat of used to il egal y kil thousands of birds every month in poisoning to birds, focussing specifical y on the Bunyala Kenya. Game poachers in Botswana use it to kil vultures.
Rice Scheme. "We are counting poisoned birds, working to The poisoning of wildlife seems to have recently increased educate local people about the importance of birds, and across Africa and BirdLife International is cal ing for informing them of the health risks associated with eating increased and concerted ef orts to address this threat.
their poisoned meat".
Situated in western Kenya near Lake Victoria and the BirdLife Botswana is also working to educate local people Ugandan border, the Bunyala Rice Scheme is a heavily about the use of poisons. "We are embarking on an irrigated area, which provides ideal growing conditions for awareness raising programme to address this issue, and rice. This water-logging also creates suitable feeding habitat wil also be working for legislation to restrict the availability for both non-breeding migratory and resident birds, which and use of poisons which are a threat to our environment are being targeted by local people who view the meat as a and human wel -being", said Pete Hancock.
In response to problems caused by wildlife poisoning The poison used is cal ed Carbofuran or Furadan and is across the continent, the BirdLife Africa Secretariat has also designed to control insect pests in a wide variety of field been focusing on chemicals and drugs as one of the threats crops such as potatoes, corn and soybeans. However, to birds and their habitats. With funding from the Ruf ord Carbofuran is also toxic to animals, and has one of the Maurice Laing Foundation, through the RSPB (BirdLife in highest acute toxicities to humans of any insecticide widely the UK), over 2,000 posters have been printed and are used on field crops. As lit le as a quarter teaspoon can be being distributed to raise awareness of the threat to fatal, and there have been reports of a child dying recently vultures; and coordinated counts wil soon be undertaken in Kenya after ingesting the poison.
in East Africa to verify the extent of the problem and make recommendations for mitigation.
BirdLife has learnt that in Bunyala the widely available poison is placed inside snail shel s to present an at ractive Furthermore, a survey has been undertaken on the use of bait. Decoy birds are used, and poachers disturb the chemicals in BirdLife network countries in Africa, and the surroundings to encourage wild birds to set le into the BirdLife Secretariat and Partners have started lobbying baited areas. Once captured, target birds are kil ed and sold relevant authorities to inform them of the extent of the for human consumption.
problem and urge increased vigilance. "Our work has helped to identify the threats to birds caused by poisons Throughout Eastern and Southern Africa, there are such as Furadan", said Jane Gaithuma, BirdLife's Senior increasing reports of the use of Carbofuran to poison wildlife Programme Manager, Regional Policy & Advocacy il egal y. In Botswana, poachers have recently been Coordinator for Africa. "We want to ensure that any observed lacing their Giraf e carcasses with the poison to chemical use in the environment in Africa does not threaten at ract vultures and kil them. "It appears as though the birds and biodiversity".
poachers are deliberately aiming to eliminate every vulture in the area, since the birds are quickly alerting the authorities to the occurrence of their poaching activities", said Pete Hancock, BirdLife Botswana's (BirdLife Partner) Conservation Of icer.
In two recent incidents, over 80 individual vultures, including White-backed Gyps africanus and Hooded Vulture Nec- rosyrtes monachus, have been deliberately poisoned in Botswana. "We are very concerned by the escalating and indiscriminate use of poisons for kil ing vultures, as this has decimated their numbers throughout Africa and is the single greatest threat facing al vulture and raptor species here in Botswana", added Pete.
The BirdLife Africa Partnership and many other conservation organisations across Africa, like Wildlife Direct, are already working to address the problems caused by avian poisoning, and are cal ing for increased, concerted ef orts to deal with the rapidly intensifying problem. In Poisoned Lappet-faced Vulture January - March 2010 / # 1 – Page 6 New drug threatens vultures
vultures for disposal of their corpses as they consider that burial or burning of human remains pol utes the natural Sent to Raptors Namibia by Sandra Gush
New Delhi - Scientists who helped secure a ban on a cat le medicine blamed for plummeting vulture populations in India Conservationists are now pushing for another drug to be are scratching their heads after a replacement drug also used by farmers in a last-ditch ef ort to save the vultures.
proved lethal to the birds.
"Only meloxicam has been established as a safe alternative Vultures, which have almost mythical status across much of for vultures, while at the same time being an ef ective drug the world, have become an endangered species in India due for treating cat le," Vibhu Prakash, who runs a captive to their vulnerability to drugs found in the carrion they eat.
breeding centre for vultures at Pinjore in northern India, said.
Their near total disappearance from Indian skies was "Vultures are slow-breeding birds," he told AFP.
principal y at ributed to diclofenac, a drug used to treat colic in cat le but which causes a deadly kidney ailment in vultures "Females lay one or two eggs at a time. So it wil take at known as visceral gout.
least a decade to assess whether the species can recover." After diclofenac was first introduced in the mid-1990s the populations of white-backed, slender-bil ed and long-bil ed vultures fel by more than 95 percent.
When the drug was final y banned three years ago, conservationists hoped for a turn-around. But tests have now revealed that another drug used as a substitute is also Wildlife group Birdlife International said that "researchers looking into safe alternatives have now identified that a second livestock treatment in Asia - ketoprofen - is also lethal to the birds.
"Ketoprofen could already be contributing to further declines of the remaining vulture populations caused by diclofenac and this is a trend likely to increase," it said.
Campaigners, who lobbied hard to get diclofenac banned in India in 2006, had predicted the substitute drug would pose lit le harm to vultures as it is metabolised rapidly by cows into a form that was thought harmless.
But though not as toxic as diclofenac, "bigger doses of ketoprofen are lethal for the birds," Chris Bowden, vulture programme manager at Britain's Royal Society for the White-Backed Vulture at NaDEET Protection of Birds (RSPB), told AFP by phone.
White-backed Vulture at NaDEET
A 2007 study by the Bombay Natural History Society, a conservation group, estimated there were only about 11 000 A White-backed Vulture arrived at the Namib Desert white-backed, 1 000 slender-bil ed and 44 000 long-bil ed Environmental Education Trust's (NaDEET) Base on vultures in India.
In the 1980s, the graceful birds were found in their mil ions It was acting very strangely and we suspected poison.
across India but now the few survivors are mainly restricted Having given it water, it drank about a litre and later it drank to protected wildlife parks and nature reserves.
more. Overnight it improved and flew of towards the north.
As ef ective natural scavengers they play a key role in India, On Monday, we spot ed it again at the Hideout, ± 2km south where cows - sacred in the Hindu religion - are left out in the of the base. I am very sure it was the same one. It was flying open when they die.
away from the vehicle and stil not flying far, but looked much healthier and bet er than before.
Fol owers of the Parsi faith, a tiny minority, also depend on January - March 2010 / # 1 – Page 7 The whiteness of this Fish Eagle seen near We saw a tagged (E031) White-backed Vulture in Sedgefield in the Etosha on 13 Feb 2010. It was at a zebra carcass Cape, South Africa with about 15 other White-backed and 2 Lappet-faced intrigued us. None of Vultures. The carcass was approx. 2 km before the the books of er any turnof to Sprokieswoud. . . Walter & Karin Böt ger help. We thought you This Whie-backed Vulture was ringed and tagged on 30/01/2009 at might be interested Twin Tree, Okaukuejo, Etosha as an adult by Gabrial Shatumbu. It was also fit ed with a GPS tag as part of a research project in comment. . . . .
"DeltaWing" is the name chosen for one of the Lappet-Faced Vulture chicks, which was ringed during the Oct 2009 vulture ringing season. The nest was near Tsondabvlei. It was too smal to tag and the right wing appeared to have been broken and set at an angle.
The chick was revisited in early Jan 2010 to add a tag and to see if it had survived. On approaching the nest, the ringers were greeted by the chick coming out of the nest and at empting to fly. It did not get far, as it We took a trip to Etosha recently and saw a few was probably its maiden flight. The broken wing had vultures, one of which had a tag, E071. It was on Nov an obvious bend in it and not to cause more stress to 29, on the road to m'Bari, somewhere near the turnof the chick, it was decided not to tag the other wing.
for Grunewald. . . . . . . . . . Ben Burghart.
Just over 4 weeks later (during the second week of This Lappet-faced Vulture was ringed and tagged on 5/10/2007 just Feb 2010), we revisited DeltaWing in order to check east of Okaukuejo, Etosha as a chick in the nest by Wilferd on its state of health. On approaching the nest, DeltaWing was standing in the nest, but then lay During December, Kerri Wolter, manager of the down and did not move again whilst we were there.
Vulture Programme of the Rhino & Lion Wildlife Although we did not see the parents, it was evident Conservation NPO sent out the first edition of the that they were stil actively feeding the chick – which programmes newslet er. A volunteer based in the UK, by this late stage should have fledged. We hope to Peter Turnbul put it together. If you would like to revisit DeltaWing in the next weeks to establish what receive this interesting and informative pdf document, has happened to this bird.
email Kerri at: kerri.wolter@gmail.com What remains questionable now is (1) whether Jean Meintjies & Naude Dreyer have regularly seen DeltaWing wil ever fledge, and if not (2) for how long the Osprey at Pelican Point, the pump station, past the parents wil continue to feed the chick. . . . .
the look-out and at the salt works.
On 13 Jan. 2010, we again saw two Lappet-faced Vultures at the seal colony at Cape Frio. . . . .
A photo of a White-backed Vulture with patagial tag (E054) was taken on the 10/2/2010 near Leeubron, Etosha, at a carcass. This was one of the first birds to be tagged in Etosha on 20/9/2007. The tag was very dif icult to read by the observers but fortunately, one of them took a good photo.

Source: http://www.nnf.org.na/RAPTORS/raptors_newsletters/Raptor%20News%202010%201%20Jan%20-%20Mar.pdf

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