In April we produced a series of four ‘webinars’ with VulPro. The webinar recordings were used as the first introductory sessions for a club, the VulPro Vulture Club, that has been meeting in Makuleke cultural centre, on alternate Saturdays since.
Makuleke is at the northern end of Kruger National Park in South Africa. The club members are youngsters from nearby schools, and it’s been organised by the Makuleke Park manager and led by his Conservation educators, Rhulani and Mika. After every session we get very happy feedback – the kids are doing very well, we’ve had a wonderful day, all done & dusted for today, the kids had great fun! They certainly seem to have enjoyed themselves, and to have learned a lot. They made a virtual visit to view captive vultures, had talks from experts and made field trips to see free-living vultures in the wild. They also worked through the different sections of the PACE Vulture resource.
They have learned about the different vulture species in Africa, and those found in their area. They have covered vulture identification, how the species communicate, their wings and flying, habitats, distribution, reproduction, diet and feeding, hygiene and the role of vultures in public health. Above all, perhaps they have learned why and how we can live together with vultures without harming them.
As their course comes to an end we hope our new experts will be raising Vulture awareness in their communities. The area is an important home to vulture species, but has been a poaching hot spot in recent years – a result of much misinformation and misunderstanding of these marvelous birds. The kids have made some of their own vulture pictures, below, to use in their new roles as vulture champions.