Group of vultures at Mokala National Park

Freedom – The Release of Two Vultures in Mokala National Park

Freedom, A Happy Ending – The Release of Two Vultures in Mokala National Park.

– Written by Ronelle Visagie, Enadngered Wildlife Trust Birds of Prey Programme

“On 6 December 2023 I fetched an injured White-backed Vulture from Kimberley Veterinary Clinic. The bird was found somewhere in town and had a broken leg.
The leg was pinned by Dr. Odette Burger and was still in an excellent condition and ate well.
From the start this vulture was very feisty and we called her “Kwaaitjie”.
At home we put her in a deep crate as the orders from the vet were to keep her still.
Two days later she sat on the side of the crate and was ready to jump down. She was then moved to a small aviary where she could be on the ground and still not move too much. It was probably too boring for her to be confined, exactly 8 days later she removed the pin from her leg.
I got in touch with veterinary nurse Anmari Coetzee at Kimberley Vet Clinic and explained the situation.
They wanted me to bring the vulture to the clinic, but I suggested that we leave her as she may get injured or the leg broken when we handle and transport her. I also promised that I will take her back immediately when something happens to her leg.
Two weeks later I took her for x-rays to see if the leg was mending and everything was going well with her leg.
She was kept in a small enclosure for another 2 weeks and then moved to a large aviary where she started to fly.”
“On Saturday 13 January 2024 I fetched a Cape Griffon from Kimberley Veterinary Clinic that was confiscated in a township near Kimberley by the SAPD.
They took the bird to Dronfield to be released, but Aneska Almendro, working for De Beers at Dronfield, saw that the bird needed veterinary care and took her to Kimberley Veterinary Clinic. The poor bird was in a severely stressed condition and the vets had to put her on at least 2 drips to save her life.
When we got home, I put her in a large aviary so that she can walk around and stretch her wings, but none of this happened and she stayed in one position for 2 days before she started walking and stretching her wings.
It is very sad to see a vulture in such poor condition. At least she was eating very well after her ordeal.
As she was confiscated from a township, so we will never know what happened to her and if she was kicked or struck. We called her Neska.
Both vultures recovered very well and we could see that they wanted to get out of the aviary and fly free again.
They were both ringed and put in transport crates for the trip to Mokala National Park.
On our arrival at the water point where the vultures usually bathe and drink, there were more than a hundred vultures around the water and in the trees. Most of them were White-backed Vultures, and at least 3 Cape Griffons were also seen.
We opened the transport crates and they walked out, stood for a few minutes to look around, before they took off.
I was joined on the trip by my husband, Stoffel and our farm worker, Piet Olyn, who always helps me with the birds.
Piet had never been to a National Park. He was very excited to see the giraffes, buffalo, baboons and other antelope that he has never seen before.
It was such a special trip! It is always a privilege release vultures that were rescued when they have recovered well.”
For more information on the EWT and the part they play in the conservation of our wildlife, please check out their website:

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