Wildlife and wind energy development Cape Vultures (Gyps coprotheres) are an endangered species endemic to Southern Africa. As obligate scavengers, they fulfil important ecological and economic roles. Cape Vultures however face several threats including collision and electrocution with power lines; poisoning incidents (intentional and unintentional) and the use of their body parts for belief-based medicine. An emerging threat is that of wind farm developments, which if developed in unsuitable areas, could lead to further species declines and local extinctions.
Given that the Eastern Cape is a hotspot for wind energy development, and that 42% of the global population of Cape Vultures is found here (in conjunction with KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho), our research is focused on colonies in this area. We aim to gain a better understanding of the ecology of the species by observing their movements in the landscape, how these movements overlap with proposed wind farm sites and threat hotspots, and ultimately how the population viability of the species will be impacted.
Our research is used to provide information to key stakeholders that are involved with the conservation of this species and the development of wind farms.