VULTURE POPULATION MONITORING, ZAMBIA

To contribute to nationwide surveys of vulture populations by collecting data in and around the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia.


Vultures play an important ecological role by rapidly consuming the remains of dead animals; preventing these carcasses from acting as host to various diseases that may spread to wildlife and livestock.  Vultures are also important in ecosystem nutrient cycling, and in leading other scavenging mammals and birds to carcasses.

This group of avian scavengers evoke strong emotions with belief systems ranging from them having divine powers to being ugly and disease riddled.  They have often been persecuted causing significant declines across Africa.

A variety of vulture species are recorded as being present in areas around the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park including:

Palm-nut Vulture (Gypohierax angolensis) – Status: least concern, local status: rare / vagrant
Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) – Status: endangered, local status: rare / vagrant
Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus) – Status: least concern, local status: resident / very common
White-Backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) – Status: near threatened, local status: resident / very common
Lappet-Faced Vulture (Aegypius tracheliotos) - Status: vulnerable, local status: resident / common
White-Headed Vulture (Aegypius occipitalis) - Status: vulnerable, local status: resident / common

Data from this study is being provided monthly to members of the BirdWatch Zambia to be combined with nationwide data.


Milestones:

2011:  345 observation hours resulted in 708 vultures observed: 18 Lappet-Faced, 452 Hooded and 238 White-headed

2012:  269 observation hours resulted in 564 vultures observed: 16 Lappet-Faced, 398 Hooded and 150 White-headed

2013:  317 observation hours resulted in 818 vultures observed: 3 Lappet-Faced, 558 Hooded and 257 White-headed

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