The number of Cape vultures has recently been declining at an alarming rate. Because of his, a vulture study group has been established (VSG). The Cape vulture, Gyps coprotheres, is endemic to southern Africa. They live in colonies on often-inaccessible cliffs.
Vultures fly at about 50 kilometres an hour for very long distances in search of carcasses. They float on air currents to save energy. A vulture reaches sexual maturity at between five and six years of age. Their lifespan is about 25 years. They breed in winter, laying only a single egg.
One of the reasons why vultures are struggling to survive is because of starvation. There is a definite decline in game numbers. Another reason is because vultures find pylons irresistible. Perching on them has shocked so many. Eskom has tried to create "safe" pylons, but still casualties occur. Farmers, too, are responsible for many vultures' deaths. They poison carcasses and leave them out to kill unwanted predators, instead they affect the vultures. Many farmers believe that vultures transmit dangerous diseases to cattle when they share their drinking water.
Traditionally, vulture skins were part of the African witchdoctor's dress. This practice has been eliminated to some extent in SA by strict legislation.
A vulture restaurant is an artificial feeding place for vultures. This is no new idea. Centuries ago, human corpses have been made available for vultures in places like Tibet and Bombay. Even South African history tells of King Dingaan's Kwa Matuwane, the feeding place of the vultures and the destination of those who suffered under Dingaan's wrath.