Vultures in South Africa

Vultures In South Africa Endangered

  • Traditional Medicine in Southern Africa is the realm of the Sangoma (Healer). Birds such as owls and vultures are often killed for use in their medicines and rituals.

  • Vulture parts are prescribed for various ailments including headaches and are also supposed to be effective for providing clairvoyant powers, foresight and increased intelligence. By eating the brain of the vulture, the sangoma is said to receive greater powers to communicate with the dead. The foot of a vulture is believed to bring good luck in gambling.

The Northern Cape’s vultures

Two species of vulture are relatively common in the Northern Cape. The African White-backed Vulture has colonies around Kimberley (c. 300 pairs) and in the Kalahari (see article on aerial survey of Kimberley colonies). The Lappet-faced Vulture only breeds in the Kalahari (the last pair nesting in the Kimberley area disappeared a few years ago). The White-headed Vulture is occasionally seen in the northern parts of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park where it probably nests in small numbers. The Cape Vulture is extinct as a breeding species in the Northern Cape, but is occasionally seen in the Province and especially in the south-eastern Karoo and the Kimberley area. The Palm-nut and Egyptian Vultures are vagrants to the Northern Cape

Vulture Restaurants: Dining with Vultures

There are now more than 250 designated vulture restaurants throughout South Africa. Here local farmers are encouraged to donate the carcasses of sick or dead animals to the cause of vulture survival, which is a huge advance on attitudes of say 20 years ago. However some scientists have tended to criticise this system as also being a contributing factor to the demise of the vulture, urging that farmers ensure that cattle are drug free before they are donated, and that any animals shot are not left riddled with lead pellets that would later find their way into the vulture diet.

South Africa: Gamblers Prey on Vultures

Traditional beliefs about the clairvoyant powers of vultures could spell trouble for the birds as gamblers look for a sure bet during the World Cup.   According to muti tradition, eating the brains of a vulture or wearing a newly decapitated vulture head can grant one the ability to see into the future

Wildlife and nature guides to the world

  • Birdwatching in Turkey
  • Mixed
  • Nature and wildlife apps for iphone
  • Wildlife calendar
  • Wildlife of Africa
  • Wildlife of Asia
  • Wildlife of Europe
  • Wildlife of North Africa
  • Wildlife of North and South America
  • World wildlife guides