www.africanvultures.org - ProActive Vulture Conservation, Research, Rehabilitation and Education

ProActive Conservation™
  • HOME

Today, vultures face an unprecedented number of threats.

Many of these are well documented and several of the worst ones are simple to address.

After five years of intensive research while treating the symptoms of these threats through rehabilitation, African Vultures was established specifically to tackle these threats head on, to swiftly reduce the number of injuries and fatalities by treating the cause rather than reactively responding to the symptoms.


This is a new venture, addressing the already identified day-to-day threats the birds are facing in the wild.

We are now seeking new partners with whom to build mutually beneficial relationships. This is an opportunity for sponsors to support measurable conservation efforts to protect a less charismatic group of species that is in dire need of help, while investing in the security of a balanced and sustainable future for both wildlife and human populations, as well as the education of our communities of southern Africa.

African Vultures is a registered NPC with PBO status (Registered as ProActive Conservation). The board and staff currently consist of Walter Neser (CEO), Wilhelm Schak (Wildlife Vet, Ecologist & conservation consultant) and Morne van der Linde (Environmental Lawyer).

The initial project focuses its attention on the Limpopo region between Musina and Mahikeng across the Limpopo and North West Provinces of South Africa.

Phase I (2016 – 2018)
  1. Power-line survey and mitigation
  2. Lead poisoning education & mitigation
  3. Education of role players
  4. Implementation of active landowner participation strategies
  5. Addressing secondary poisoning (caused by irresponsible predator control)
  6. Ongoing research to measure success as well as keeping an eye on population trends and emerging threats
Phase II (2019 – 2021)

Add project focus to working with traditional healers (Sangomas) on finding and promoting the use of environmentally sound and sustainable alternatives to vulture (and other) endangered species body parts in their trade, as well as continuing and expanding phase one efforts.

Phase III (2022 – 2024)

Focus on improving legislation, law enforcement and further actions identified where phase one and two found gaps in its reach.

PROJECTS COORDINATOR - Walter Neser has a long history of ornithological research and conservation work (both in South Africa and abroad), especially on vultures & other threatened birds of prey and addressing their threats. Most recently with VulPro in South Africa that was established by Kerri Wolter in 2007, VulPro showed exponential growth in all sectors of its conservation mandate as well as its education and public awareness profiles, especially during the past five years with Walter being there full time dedicated to Vulture conservation. Simultaneously, over the past few years an alarming increase in the number of grounded vultures that needed rescue and rehabilitation was recorded, as well as a marked increase in blood lead levels in birds handled, especially from the Limpopo and Northwest provinces of South Africa where the bulk of the remaining population of Cape Vultures breed and forage.

Halting this alarming trend can only be achieved through swift, proactive mitigation of threats, such as, through collaboration with ESKOM, to modify unsafe structures in specific ‘hotspot’ areas before more losses occur and addressing the lead issue simultaneously through education and awareness-interactions with every landowner in the initial project region. This personal interaction is essential, as it appears to be the only way that the message is understood while at the same time building a widespread farmers network, who in turn all keep an eye on the birds, and then also know who to contact should they encounter a grounded vulture requiring rehabilitation, or equally important, knowing who to report power line incidents or poisoning to, so that they can be addressed swiftly. This network is an essential tool to the success of the project.

In addition to the proactive efforts, continuation of research projects on the threats, powerline incident as well as powerline survey data will also be captured into a database for further analysis, especially for comparison to post mitigation surveys and then publication towards end of the phase I project period. Powerline work will not only cover electrocutions, but will also address collision issues, both on Transmission and Distribution lines. Educational talks as well as assisting vultures in need of rehabilitation (ie administering first aid and transport to VulPro) are also on-going responsibilities of African Vultures.

Flair! - Image © W.NESER
“Moustached Vulture” - Image © W.NESER
Cape Vulture - Image © W.NESER
Hooded Vulture with Nestling - Image © W.NESER
Cape Vulture Landing - Image © W.NESER

Power-Line Survey
"Inverted-T" without BIL / Spark Gap!! (Deadly)
Power-Line Survey
Power-Line Survey
Power-Line Survey

Foot / Leg Trap Fatality
Power-Line Fatality
Fatal Power-Line Electrocution
Fatal Electrocution
Multiple Fatal Electrocution

BIL / Spark Gap on "Inverted-T" Structure (Safe)
Bird Diverter / Flapper (Against Collisions)
Installing Diverters

XRAY of Broken Wing (irreparable)
Leg Repair after Powerline injury

Hospitalised Bird with Lead Poisoning
XRAY showing carcass before shot
XRAY showing lead fragments in carcass from hunting


Media & Press

Cape vulture decline is reason to be concerned

Aasvoëls nou só beskerm

Vultures in Crisis

Power lines pose threat to SA vultures - Engineering News, 7 Feb 2014

Magaliesberg Vultures Face Extinction - Kormorant, 22 June 2012

Vultures are worth saving

Africa Geographic

Leer by Aasvoels se Restaurant - Die Beeld, 31 Mei 2011

Vrywilligers veg vir Aasvoels - Die Beeld, Sept 2010

Vultures - Birds & BirdingBirding, Jan 2011

NSAID Ketaprofen Fatal for vultures 24/03/2009

New veterinary drug could collapse SA’s vulture population

Vulture_Conservation - Africa_Wild, Nov 2008

Africa at a Glance - Africa Geographic, July 2008

WWF - Vulture Evaluation Project Launch

Vulture Enclosure Project - Eskom Media Release, Feb 2008

Press Release - Vulture Programme – Impacting Society - R&L Reserve


Conflict between Wildlife and Veterinary Medicine


"The Cape Griffons"

"Path into the Future"

"VulPro by Kat Smith"

"Fragile World of the Cape Vulture"

"I Believe I can Fly - Madza Wildlife Fund Advertisment"

"Vultures Chose Me"

"BBC News - Vulture Decline could affect Humans"

"BBC News - Poachers Target Vultures in Africa"


Naidoo V, Swan GE, Wolter,K, Cuthbert R, Bartels P.
Could Meloxicam be the saviour of the Asian White-backed Vulture?
2006. Proc PAAZAB Annual General Meeting, East London, South Africa.

Wolter K, Naidoo V, Whittington-Jones C, Bartels P.
Does the presence of vulture restaurants influence the movement of Cape Vultures (Gyps coprotheres) in the Magaliesberg? Southern African Wildlife Management Association conference
2007, Didima Camp, uKhahlamba, Drakensberg Park, South Africa. Poster.

Wolter K, Von’t Foort W, Bartels P.
Monitoring released rehabilitated Vultures.
Vulture News 2007;57:73-74.

Wolter K, Wittington-Jones C, West S.
Annual censuses of the Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres) at three colonies in the Magaliesberg
Vulture News 2007;57:24-31.

Naidoo V, Venter L, Wolter K, Taggart M, Cuthbert R.
The toxicokinetics of ketoprofen in Gyps coprotheres: Toxicity due to zero order metabolism
Arch Toxicol 2010;84:761-766.

Naidoo V, Wolter K, Cromarty D, Diekman J, Diekman M, Duncan N, Meharg AA, Taggart MA, Venter L, Cuthbert R.
Toxicity of the NSAID ketoprofen to Gyps vultures: a new threat for vultures
Biology Letters 2010;6:339-41.

Wolter K.
Cape Vulture captive breeding success
Vulture News 2011;61:47

Wolter K, Mundy P, Mandlamahle D.
Incubation patch on a male Cape Griffon
Vulture News 2013;65:37-39.

Wolter K.
Vulnerable vultures
Wildlife Ranching 2014;1:106-109.

Wolter K, Neser W, Diekmann M, Verdoorn G.
South African Cape Vulture released in Namibia in 2005 is back in South Africa
Afring News 2014;43:21-22.

Wolter K, Neser W ,Hirschauer M.
Protocols for mass capturing, handling and fitting tracking devices on vultures
2014. www.vulpro.com

Wolter K, Neser W, Hirschauer M
VulPro’s Cape Vulture captive breeding protocol
2014. www.vulpro.com.

Wolter K, Neser W, Hirschauer M.
Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres breeding status in South Africa (north of the Witwatersrand and part of the Eastern Cape) and Botswana and the extinction of Robert’s Farm Colony: monitoring results from 2010 – 2014
Ostrich 2015;86:in press

Fourie T, Cromarty D, Duncan N, Wolter K, Naidoo V.
The safety and pharmacokinetics of carprofen, flunixin and phenylbutazone in the Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres) following oral exposure
Submitted for publication.

Monadjem A, Kane A, Wolter K, Neser W, Kotze A, Naidoo V.
Movements of foraging Cape Vultures in relation to the location of supplementary feeding points
Oryx 2015;49:in press.

Wittington-Jones C, West S, Neser W, Davidson I, Saunders P & Saunders N.
The Status and Breeding Success of Verreaux’s Eagles Aquilla vereauxii in the Magaliesberg, South Africa
Gabar Volume 24, No.1:7-15

Vinny Naidoo, Ph.D., Kerri Wolter, Ian Espie, M.Med.Vet., and Antoinette Kotze, Ph.D.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 43(3): 573–578, 2012

A. Monadjem, K. Wolter, W. Neser & A. Kane
Effect of rehabilitation on survival rates of endangered Cape vultures
Animal Conservation 17 (2014) 52–60 © 2013 The Zoological Society of London

W. Louis Phipps, Kerri Wolter, Michael D. Michael, Lynne M. MacTavish, Richard W. Yarnell
Do Power Lines and Protected Areas Present a Catch-22 Situation for Cape Vultures (Gyps coprotheres)?
PLOS ONE | www.plosone.org October 2013 | Volume 8 | Issue 10 | e76794

W. Louis Phipps, Stephen G. Willis, Kerri Wolter, Vinny Naidoo
Foraging Ranges of Immature African White-Backed Vultures (Gyps africanus) and Their Use of Protected Areas in Southern Africa
PLOS ONE | www.plosone.org January 2013 | Volume 8 | Issue 1 | e52813

V Naidoo, K Wolter, I Espie and A Kotze
Vulture rescue and rehabilitation in South Africa: An urban perspective
Journal of South African Veterinary Association, 2011, 82(1), pp24–31

Craig Whittington-Jones, Kerri Wolter & Sean West
Monitoring of cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres) breeding colonies in the Magaliesberg, south africa: 2007-2009
Vulture News, 60, 2011, pp. 6-12

Naidoo et al. 2008
Blood Chemistry and Hematology of African White-Backed Vultures (Gyps africanus)
Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 44(3), pp. 649-654

Turnbull et al
Naturally acquired antibodies to Bacillus anthracis protective antigen in vultures of southern Africa
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, 75:95–102 (2008)

Wolter et al
Monitoring the success of released rehabilitated vultures
Vultre News, 57, 2007, pp. 73-74.

Swan et al
Toxicity of diclofenac to Gyps vultures
Biology Letters, doi:10.1098/rsbl.2005.0425

Kerri Wolter, Craig Whittington-Jones & Sean West
Status of Cape Vultures (Gyps coprotheres) in the Magaliesberg, South Africa
Vultre News, 57, 2007, pp. 24-31.

Naidoo et al
The pharmacokinetics of meloxicam in vultures
J. vet. Pharmacol. Therap. 31, 128–134, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2885.2007.00923.x.

Swan et al
Removing the Threat of Diclofenac to Critically Endangered Asian Vultures
PLoS Biol 4(3): e66.

V.Naidoo, K.Wolter, R.Cuthbert, N.Duncan
Veterinary diclofenac threatens Africa’s endangered vulture species
Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 53 (2009) 205–208

Pain et al
The race to prevent the extinction of South Asian vultures
Bird Conservation International (2008) 18:S30–S48

Wolter & Turnbull
A success story and happy outcome: a threatened vulture programme saved
Falco - The Newsletter of the Middle East Falcon Research Group, Issue No. 34 Autumn 2009

Kerri Wolter, Walter Neser, Margaret T Hirschauer & Alvaro Camina (2016)
Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres breeding status in southern Africa: monitoring results from 2010–2014
Ostrich, 2016, 1-5

Educational Material & Booklets

Let Vultures Soar - Vultures and Farmers 2014

Lead Poisoning Poster


K. Wolter, W. Neser, M.T. Hirschauer
Protocols for mass capturing, handling, and fitting tracking devices on vultures
AFRING NEWS 43, 2014

K. Wolter, W. Neser, M.T. Hirschauer
Cape vulture (Gyps coprotheres) Captive-Breeding Protocols

Restaurant News

Restaurant News #1 Dec 2014

Restaurant News #2 June 2015

Restaurant News #3 Dec 2015


VulPro (Vulture Programme)
Parent organisation to africanvultures.org

ProActive Conservation
Broader Base Conservation affiliate to African Vultures

Project Vulture (Bearded Vulture Conservation)

Eco Capture
Cross-Platform mobile Data-Capture applications (Apps) for biological research projects, as well as wireless remote triggers for Game / Wildlife Capture

Hunting with Non-Lead Ammunition Page
A Page by Hunters, for Hunters with information on Lead Free Ammunition.

PEREGRINE BULLETS - Lead Free Ammunition
We Support and Endorse the use of lead free ammunition such as made by Peregrine Bullets to reduce incidence of lead poisoning.


Interested Parties are welcome to enquire about volunteering opportunities available. Volunteers can participate in power-line surveys in identified hotspot areas, so that the threats can be assessed and addressed. Volunteers will need to be in a position and capable of operating on their own once training is complete.
We have developed a cross-platform Phone / Tablet App specifically for streamlining the data capture and submission process, which is used by volunteers, staff and restaurant operators.


Any contribution, no matter how small (or large) helps.
If you would like to learn more about how you can help our vultures,
please contact us via email at:
Donations can be made by International Bank Transfer / EFT / PayPal and more.
Tax certificates for donations (financial or otherwise as applicable) to our registered NPC / PBO will be supplied.
All serious donors / sponsors will be listed on the website, email signatory, social media or other outlets as agreed.
Donations of items listed on the wishlist below can also be made instead of financial support.


  • Spotting Scope - Kowa TSN-883 Angled 88mm Prominar with 25 - 60x Eyepiece
  • Binoculars - Kowa 10x42 BD42-10B
  • Portable Fridge/Freezer for Sample Preservation during field work
  • Mobile Blood Lead Analyser - Magellan Diagnostics LeadCare platform
  • Office Printer & Cartridges
  • Field Work Vehicle - ie Used Toyota Hilux KZTE Single Cab 4x4 Diesel (~2000 - 2007 edition)
Many of these items are available to order online, which may simplify the process, so please enquire for details.


Walter Neser
Mobile: +27 76 593 9849

African Vultures
PO Box 934
Farm Groothoek

© www.africanvultures.org 2015 - All Rights Reseved