Maluti-Drakensberg Vulture Project

 Bearded Vultures in the Maluti-Drakensberg Mountains

The Bearded Vulture is classified as “Endangered” in southern Africa due to a continuous decline in its numbers and susceptibility to several threats in Lesotho and South Africa. Within the past 30 years the Bearded Vulture population has suffered a 30% decline in its breeding range and has lost a third of its breeding pairs. There are less than 500 Bearded Vulture left in southern Africa

The Maluti-Drakenserg Vulture Project was initiated in 2000, with the initial aim being to monitor nest sites in order to determine population trends. The project is now coordinated by the Bearded Vulture Task Force of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Birds of Prey Programme. The project is being expanded from purely monitoring activities to include the implementation of various actions aimed at mitigating threats to the species. The project has a group of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers who monitor the Bearded Vulture throughout its range in Lesotho and South Africa.

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Maluti-Drakensberg Vulture Project Activities

The overall goal of the Maluti-Drakensberg Vulture Project is to ensure collaboration between Lesotho and South Africa through the Maluti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Project in implementing the actions identified in the Bearded Vulture Conservation Action Plan. Successful implementation of the actions will prevent further declines in the numbers and range of the Bearded Vulture.

Intensive monitoring is ongoing to record active nests and determine breeding success. Regular monitoring at feeding sites throughout the species’ range provides information on population age structure and habitat use.

In addition, 17 Bearded Vultures have been fitted with satellite transmitters to obtain more information on their movement patterns and causes of mortality. We are currently tracking the following birds;

  • Olivia, Ikloba, Inkosi Yeentaka and Zakhumi- juvenile females
  • Sphinx and Carmella- adult females
  • Springbok- adult male
  • Lehlwa and Aspen- juvenile males
  • Wandervogel- fledgling.

The project’s activities require extensive education and awareness programmes which together with a concerted effort to address the threats to the species will go a long way to ensuring their long-term survival.


Media AttentionThe Bearded Vulture Project was mentioned in the Action For Nature Eco-Hero's Youtube video!
Click on the link below to see it!