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Southern Bald Ibis

Southern Bald Ibis programme

Southern Bald Ibis (Geronticus calvus) is endemic to southern Africa with a restricted range centered on the Drakensberg. It is listed as vulnerable because of small population size (probably not more than 2000 breeding pairs), being endemics (only occurring in north-eastern South Africa, Lesotho and western Swaziland) and having a restricted distribution (high altitude grasslands). The population underwent a rapid decline over the past century. The main threats are to their grassland habitat, through commercial afforestation, intensive crop farming, open-cast mining and dense human settlement. Hunting and disturbance, especially at breeding colonies, are also major threats.

Our conservation activities are based on the following objectives:
  • sbibis
    Reduce the rate of conversion of grassland foraging areas to cultivated land.
  • Reduce the rate of afforestation of grassland foraging areas.
  • Determine affects of different burning and grazing regimes on SBI habitat.
  • Investigate the role of pesticides on the reduction of prey availability.
  • Maintain the current number of breeding colonies and pairs.
  • Identify and investigate factors adversely affecting reproductive success of SBI.
  • Set up a GIS database of all active and historical breeding colonies.
  • Prepare a map showing historical and potential foraging habitat available to the SBI.
  • Establish guidelines for landowners & avitourism operators to protect breeding colonies.

For more information, please contact Dr Hanneline Smit-Robinson, 
Conservation Manager/Oppenheimer Fellow of Conservation, conservation@birdlife.org.za 

Eskom is the Species Champion for Southern Bald Ibis conservation in South Africa

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