Posted by: rlukei | 2013/12/24

Botswana Research Projects – Vultures and Wild Dogs

During late November and early December I traveled to Botswana in southern Africa to see for myself some of the amazing wildlife so often seen in TV programs. I had no idea that I would contribute to two ongoing research projects while there.

On November 27 on my first full day in the Kalahari Plains Central Camp while on a game drive in a Land Rover, we saw some Lappet-faced and White-headed Vultures rising into a thermal. I took several photos and later when back in camp and reviewing the photos I discovered that two of the Lappet-faced Vultures (a threatened specie) were fitted with wing tags – #White 24 and #White L1. I have learned that these two vultures were also fitted with transmitters by a PhD candidate, Rebecca Garbett, who has been conducting research with Dr Glyn Maude at Kalahari Research and Conservation (KRC). The two Lappet-faced vultures are numbers 128501 and 128504. Refer to the attached map and two photos.

Botswana Vultures map 131218botsvultBotswana 1 525Botswana 1 528

On December 2 while on a game drive in a Land Rover at Chitabe Camp in the Okavango Delta we saw an Impala with her newborn fawn. After a few photos we drove on and immediately came upon a pack of eight African Wild Dogs, two of which were wearing tracking collars. The Wild Dogs soon sensed the baby Impala and captured it. After returning home, I did some internet research to find out who may have fitted the collars on the Wild Dogs. They were fitted with collars by Dr J W McNutt, Director of Botswana Predator Conservation Trust. In his email response he states “Thank you for sending some of your photos of collared dogs in Chitabe. It is particularily useful to get some of these photos and reports because the collar that the male is wearing went quite about 2 months ago when the pack was on the cattle side of the Veterinary Fence that separates wildlife areas from livestock. We had feared the pack might have been targeted by local livestock farmers and the collar destroyed. We are very happy to learn from the Chitabe report that the pack is doing quite well, in fact. I will be spending the next few weeks trying to catch up with these dogs in order to remove the expired radio collars and replace them with new collars.”

Botswana 4 077Botswana 4 087


Thank you so much for the information and photo’s..Did you see MeerKats? I watched the program when it was on ..some had tracking collars also..Are the vultures the same size as our Turkey and Black Vultures? and the Wild Dogs interesting a mix of everything

Response – Pat – No meerkat’s but did see their relative the yellow mongoose. The “old world” vultures are much larger than our “new wprld” vultures.

Wonderful photos, nature in Africa must be really amazing. Until today I was able to watch just on television but one day I will try to go and watch live this amazing show. Great job, by the way, anybody who is working to save, protect and study the african nature has all my respect.

Reese, what an amazing coincidence to find tagged creatures, twice, half way around the world! Thanks for sharing an exciting bit of your winter explorations! It sounds like your observations and efforts with the dogs in Chitabe were desperately appreciated!
And to connect with these researchers is very cool. You guys are kindred spirits.