50|50 Episode 18 – 8 October 2012

Bearded Vultures

Lammergeier, lammervanger or bearded vulture… a majestic bird that might have slipped under the survival radar had Sonja Kruger and her task team not been keeping a close eye on them. While bearded vultures are not threatened globally, inSouth Africathere are fewer than 300 individuals left in the wild. The vultures are threatened by the traditional medicine trade, range contraction, poisoning and disturbances while feeding to name a few. Together with the Bearded Vulture Task Force and other conservationists, Bonne tries to solve the unanswered questions about the habits of this endangered bird. On the cliffs and crags of the Drakensberg, we take a peep at the juveniles in their precariously positioned nests as adventure sports meets scientific technology. The adults are monitored differently to the juveniles with their own set of unique…and long-suffering…challenges. What do the tagging and DNA testing mean for the survival of this species? What else needs to be done to save this iconic species inSouth Africa? Phil Lennon, our trusty producer, has been on the story for 5 years.


The residents of theCapePeninsulaare continually plagued by the craftiest of thieves and vandals: baboons. They can be aggressive, raid rubbish, break windows and climb into cars… all for a quick snack.Cape Town’s response to the problem varies depending on who you ask.CapeNaturehas had death warrants issued for two of the dominant males that are biggest troublemakers; while another company takes a slightly less aggressive stance using baboon monitors that shoot at the baboons with paint balls to keep them out of residential areas and out of trouble. Residents appreciate the wildlife surrounding them, but the damage a baboon can wreak upon an unattended kitchen can be devastating. These highly flexible and intelligent creatures learn quickly and when they know they can steal a quick chocolate bar, why should they have to search for leaves and berries? What measures are being taken to protect both human and baboon? How can both co-exist? This is not a new topic to the 50|50 screens but is one that still requires answers.


In this week’s Veldfokus we meet some cute and cuddly members of a jackal family, a rather hot chameleon and a hungry duiker.




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