Friday, January 4, 2013

D002 re-sighted

On 14th November, 2008, Nicky Bousfield, Obusitswe Samuel and Cinistar Tjitemisa tagged a Lappet-faced Vulture fledgling in its nest in the Makgadikgadi – with wing-tags numbered D002. We hoped that this bird would be re-sighted some time in the future (preferably alive!) so that we could learn about its movements and survival.
Fitting wing-tags to the young bird. Nest in background. Almost four years to the day (on 16th November, 2012), D002 was re-sighted in the company of nine other Lappet-faced and 26 White-backed vultures at the waterhole near Camp Kalahari in the Makgadikgadi!
D002 with wing tags clearly visible, together with other vultures Although this is very close to where the bird was originally tagged, it shows that some young Lappet-faced Vultures do not disperse far from their natal area. In addition, judging from its behaviour and proximity to another adult Lappet-faced Vulture,D002 appeared to have a mate! According to vulture expert Dr Peter Mundy, Lappet-faced Vultures usually mature at six years of age; our information shows that this may take place earlier, although it would be nice to trace D002 back to an active nest to confirm this! Of the twelve Lappet-faced Vultures marked to date, two have died – one from poisoning in neighbouring South Africa, and one from unknown causes. Some of the others have not yet been re-sighted, but we encourage people to look out for them and report their whereabouts. I would like to thank Uncharted Africa for their ongoing assistance with this project, particularly Bousfield family and the staff of Jack’s Camp and Camp Kalahari.

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