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VulPro: Saving White-backed African Vultures with GSatSolar

african vulture

Conservation Innovation with wings

In the vast skies of South Africa and across the African continent, the once plentiful vulture populations are facing a silent but significant threat to their existence. Habitat loss, poisoning, and illegal wildlife trade have pushed many vulture species to the brink of extinction. Amidst these challenges, however, innovative approaches are emerging to safeguard these majestic birds. One such endeavour is led by VulPro, an organisation committed to the holistic conservation of vulture species through a blend of in-situ and ex-situ management strategies.

VulPro's journey began as a rehabilitation facility, recognising the crucial role each individual vulture plays in the continuity of its species. Over the years, their efforts have expanded, encompassing various conservation strategies aimed at both wild and captive vulture populations. Central to their approach is the utilisation of cutting-edge technology and international veterinarian specialists.

"when we heard about the Gsat Solar, it [was] game changing for us. lightweight, robust, and versatile, this is the perfect 100% location Satellite product to accompany a bird during flight and give us the data we need…"

GSatSolar Vulture

GSatSolar for Birds

GSatSolar being powered by the sun means a long life span for the power source, and no need for interference or recapture of the animals to maintain the unit. "The birds don’t mind it, as it so light, and when the wings spread, it sits seamlessly in the harness and even charges well. When the birds' feathers cover the unit, the locations are still received, and with the help of Rene Winter, setting up the configuration to get the charging parameters and location sending right has been easy and proved invaluable to monitor the species on release and rehabilitation. The advanced VeDBA data and other metrics we are getting are impressive and nothing that have been presented or done by others before." - VulPro, 2024

The integration of GSatSolar technology has revolutionised VulPro's conservation efforts, particularly in monitoring vulture movements and behaviours. Through the Satellite transmitters attached to rehabilitated and captive-bred vultures, researchers gain valuable insights into their survival, foraging patterns, and habitat utilisation. This data not only aids in understanding vulture behaviour but also informs targeted conservation interventions.

Furthermore, VulPro employs a comprehensive monitoring system for wild populations, utilising camera traps, photographs, and public sightings to track individual vultures beyond the limitations of Satellite transmitters. This meticulous approach allows for the continuous assessment of rehabilitated and captive-bred vultures post-release, contributing to a deeper understanding of their integration into wild populations.

One of the notable achievements of VulPro's conservation efforts is the documented 75% survival rate of released rehabilitated vultures.
"While successes have been celebrated, failures have also been acknowledged, underscoring the challenges inherent in vulture conservation. With each setback, however, comes an opportunity to refine strategies and improve outcomes. The Mortality alerts from the GSat Solar device is invaluable in helping us to know if a bird is not moving and in trying locate it. This is crucial in determining success outcomes of projects and the species, and insight we have never had before."

The collaboration between in-situ and ex-situ conservation facets has not only enhanced scientific understanding but has also fostered community engagement. VulPro's presence in the field has facilitated dialogue with local landowners, raising awareness about the plight of African vultures and garnering support for conservation initiatives.

In addition to on-the-ground conservation efforts, VulPro recognises the importance of leveraging innovative technology to augment their work. The GSatSolar Series, with its solar-powered satellite tracking capabilities, offers a practical solution for monitoring vulture movements in remote and off-grid locations. Its compact design, low cost, and ease of use make it an invaluable tool for tracking wildlife and facilitating data-driven conservation decisions.

The integration of GSatSolar technology into VulPro's conservation toolkit exemplifies the synergy between technological innovation and conservation science. By harnessing the power of solar-driven satellite tracking, VulPro is not only safeguarding vulture populations but also paving the way for sustainable conservation practices. GSE is always excited to work on projects like these, which have real, tangible benefits in the wildlife conservation community. GSE is proud to produce the type of technology that saves lives, whether two-legged, four-legged, or feathered.

As VulPro continues to expand its efforts, the importance of collaboration and innovation remains paramount. By embracing new technologies and refining conservation strategies, we can ensure that vultures will not fade into obscurity but will soar high in the African skies for generations to come.

About the Author
Rene Winter
Global Account Manager

Adventurous & kind-hearted, Rene traverses the African bush bringing tech to animals in need. And we almost got murdered by hippos.

Contact Rene Winter at

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