Home South Africa How conservationists’ wing tags are actually endangering the Cape vulture

How conservationists’ wing tags are actually endangering the Cape vulture

How conservationists’ wing tags are actually endangering the Cape vulture

13 March 2021 – 09: 28

A Cape vulture with a wing tag.

Early Newspaper

A Cape vulture with a wing stamp.

Image: VulPro

In a uncover to place Cape vultures from extinction, conservationists match them with wing tags. However a peculiar behold has discovered the tags are endangering the birds’ lives.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour in Germany and VulPro, a SA vulture conservation organisation, discovered that wing tags limit the motion and velocity of vultures, compared with birds fitted with bands around their legs.

In response to results published in the journal Animal Biotelemetry, conservationists  were fitting vultures with wing tags for over a decade.

The tags’ motivate is that they are smooth and “conspicuous sufficient for parents to be known from a ways-off”. Smaller leg bands are “more sturdy to ogle and chronicle the phenomenal quantity”.

VulPro founder Kerri Wolter acknowledged: “After receiving many grounded and injured vultures from mistaken placement of wing tags, we felt there change into an instantaneous wish to bag out precisely what these tags were doing to the flight of birds and whether this methodology change into, actually, hindering the species rather than defending them.”

Max Planck Institute researchers outdated GPS gadgets to trace 27 Cape vultures

“marked with either patagial [wing] tags or leg bands”.

The GPS gadgets, which were mounted on the birds’ backs, recorded the birds’ positions as continuously as each minute for 24 hours a day, according to the behold.

The recordings enabled the researchers to behold the birds’ “flight performance, including occurrence of flight, percentage of time spent flying in a day, day-to-day distance travelled and ground velocity”.

Researchers seen that birds fitted with wing tags “lined a much smaller area in comparability to the leg band neighborhood”. They were much less at threat of exhaust flight and, when doing so, flew at decrease ground velocity compared to other folks carrying leg bands.

“Even though we did now no longer measure the results of patagial tags on physique situation or survival, our results strongly counsel that patagial tags occupy excessive adversarial results on vultures’ flight performance,” acknowledged Max Planck research neighborhood leader Teja Curk.

The institute’s Kamran Safi acknowledged vultures are scavengers, and by feeding on needless animals they play an considerable role in the ecosystem by combating the spread of infectious illnesses, recycling organic field cloth into nutrients and stabilising food webs.

“Therefore, restricted flight ability and a discount in the area lined by these birds, brought about by execrable stamp attachment, can occupy a ways-reaching penalties at the ecosystem level,” he acknowledged.


How conservationists’ wing tags are actually endangering the Cape vulture