The Kransberg Colony
Thabazimbi in the Limpopo province, north of Pretoria, is mostly known as a mining town. After all, the name in Tswana language means mountain of iron. But not far on the north-east, lays the Kransberg, a steep massive cliff with a vertical drop of over 300 meters, home to one of the largest Cape Griffon colony in Africa.
-A pair of Cape Griffons in tandem flight:
-Birds are nesting by groups throughout the cliff face:
-Adult Cape Griffon perched on a ledge near its nest:
These Vultures, endemic to southern Africa are officially listed as “vulnerable”, a status equal to “threatened” and are recognized as most endangered species in South Africa.
The Cape Griffon suffers from secondary poisoning, disturbance of nesting sites and electrocution (powerlines). In addition to these persecutions, its body parts are also harvested for use in traditional “muti” medicine. Vultures have sharp eyesight and are believed to have clairvoyant properties. According to myths, individual who consumes their brain will supposedly receive the same power, keeping a dried Vulture foot is also believed to bring luck in betting and lottery gaming.
In India for example, the recent sharp decline of Vultures has created unhealthy conditions from decaying carcasses left in the sun by the dozen, packs of feral dogs are proliferating in the country side, posing threat to people!
-Food is regurgitated for the chick:
I have spent a week at the Kransberg colony to photograph and simply enjoy the sight of these majestic birds riding the thermals, gliding along the ridge without a flap of the wings. This was the last leg of my South African adventure, I’m returning home the head full of images and wondering why Vultures are so much reviled in our “civilized” world!
-The view from the Kransbergs cliffs: