The merit of plastic tags and camera traps - News - Gondwana Collection


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The merit of plastic tags and camera traps

Avatar of inke inke - 22. February 2018 - Environment

An unusual rendezvous at a waterhole on Uli Trümper’s farm Safari: a tagged lappet-faced vulture and a black-backed jackal barely a metre apart from one another. Nine years ago this vulture was found in Windhoek as a young bird in poor health and was successfully rehabilitated. Thanks to its tags and pictures taken by camera traps it was possible to identify the adult bird for the fifth time.

Dirk Heinrich

A camera trap at a waterhole on Uli Trümper’s farm Safari captured a lappet-faced vulture together with a black-backed jackal on 29 January this year. The clearly visible plastic tag on the vulture revealed that the bird was ringed about nine years ago. Pictures taken by other camera traps also prove that the vulture was successfully rehabilitated and that it is in good condition.  

Back in January 2009 this lappet-faced vulture was found in a garden in Windhoek. The young bird was very weak and taken to NARREC (Namibia Animal Rehabilitation Research and Education Centre) in Brakwater near Windhoek, where Liz Komen nursed it back to health. Thanks to her expert care the vulture recovered well. On 31 March 2009 it was ringed (G18212) and tagged (J017) at the wings. In mid-April the bird was ready to be released.  

The vulture was first sighted again on 8 March 2015 on the farm Springbokvlei some 80 km east of Windhoek. The following year, on 25 July and on 11 and 12 August, it turned up at NARREC’s vulture restaurant in Brakwater. The visits were captured by the camera trap which is installed there. The farm Safari, where pictures of the vulture were taken in the end of January this year, is east of Springbokvlei. 

In September last year Josh Kruger took a picture of a white-backed vulture at the Klein Namutoni waterhole in Etosha National Park. That vulture had been ringed on 15 October 2016 when it was still a chick in a nest on farm Aris south of Windhoek. The plastic tag J113 was clearly visible on both wings. Sightings of tagged vultures can be reported to Vultures Namibia.

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