• Live and learn

    Live and learn

    With a wingspan of up to 2.65m, vultures are often at high risk of electrocuting themselves on power lines, as their size means they can touch both live conductors simultaneously.

    South African-based Vulture Conservation Programme says that because some electricity pylons can be as high as 20m, the Cape Vulture in particular uses power lines as a ‘safe’ roosting site to make their foraging ranges bigger as they extend their travels.

    In a bid to mitigate the power line deaths of these endangered birds (which play an important role in clearing the bushveld of carcasses), the organisation is working on a research proposal to teach captive-bred chicks through classical conditioning to avoid perching on dangerous power line structures. This method, which has already proven successful in California, will take place prior to release.

    28 June 2016
    Image: VulPro