Mobile vulture hide takes flight

2009-07-21 00:00

A MOBILE vulture hide and restaurant is soon to be constructed at Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s Ntsikeni Nature Reserve west of Creighton in KwaZulu-Natal, which apart from supplying a safe food source for endangered vultures, is likely to attract widespread interest among birders.

The hide, the construction and location of which will be managed by Birdlife South Africa, is expected to be completed by January next year.

The hide will provide a valuable opportunity for scientific research, supply endangered vultures with a safe supply of food and give nature lovers and birders the chance to get close up views and photographs of Cape and Bearded vultures.

The project is a joint initiative between Birdlife SA, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the Sisonke District Municipality and Ntsikeni Trust.

“The project will further enhance the birding and general eco-tourism appeal of Ntsikeni Nature Reserve, which already has two lodges located on the edge of the beautiful 1 200-hectare central wetland,” according to a media release issued on behalf of Birdlife SA.

Ntsikeni, one of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s lesser known reserves, is described as “paradise for nature lovers” and supports several rare and threatened bird species including the Wattled Crane, Eurasian Bittern, African Grass-Owl, Black Harrier, Cape and Bearded Vulture.

Birdlife SA has included the reserve on the Southern KZN Birding Route and has trained a community bird guide, Dalu Ngcobo, who is permanently based at the nature reserve.

Ngcobo, who attended Birdlife SA’s entrepreneurial training course and has been involved in the management of Nsikeni Lodge, will also manage the new vulture hide.

The hide will comfortably seat six people. It will be camourflaged using netting that blends in with the surrounding grasslands. In order to keep it cool a double roof system has been designed to allow airflow between the top and bottom roof layers.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife is currently testing various locations that could be suitable for feeding and viewing vultures. To read more on the endangered vulture, visit www.kznwildlife.com

ingrido@witness.co.za

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