Nesting status of African White-backed Vultures Gyps africanus in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
AbstractVulture populations have declined globally as well as regionally within Africa. Little is known about the status of the African White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus in Kenya, but ongoing studies indicate that its population has declined over the last two decades. A total of 32 African White-backed Vulture nests were monitored in the Masai Mara National Reserve over a five-year period between 2003 and 2007. Mean nesting success was 59%, which is comparable to that of populations from southern Africa. Nearest neighbour distances were significantly closer in wooded habitats (‘trees and shrubs savanna’) than in more open grassland habitats (‘open low shrubs’). Based on nearest neighbour distances, the estimated total breeding population within the Masai Mara National Reserve is 1 106 pairs, a figure that may be an overestimate and requires groundtruthing. Collecting baseline data on numbers of breeding pairs and regular nest monitoring are essential in order to assess the impact of various threats to vultures in Kenya, which include growing threats (elephant-mediated habitat disturbance and fire) as well as emerging threats (such as poisoning with the carbamate-based pesticide Furadan™).
OSTRICH 2010, 81(3): 205–209