Hope for Wattled Cranes and Bearded Vultures
Critically endangered wattled cranes and bearded vultures were given hope through more than a million rands worth of funding from the N3 Toll Concession (N3TC), the company that manages the N3 Toll Route between Heidelberg in Gauteng and Cedara in KwaZulu- Natal. This funding saw the construction of a unique chick rearing facility for wattled cranes, and the opening of a vulture hide.
Pretending to be a Wattled Crane
Africa’s first chick rearing facility, constructed at the Bill Barnes Crane and Oribi Nature Reserve in Nottingham Road, is a unique nursery that uses what is termed “isolation and costume-rearing techniques”. The Reservewelcomeditsfirstwattledcrane chicks in July 2014.
Once the chicks are born ‘costumed caretakers’, or ‘chick mums’, teach the chicks to forage during daily excursions to the natural grasslands and wetlands in the Reserve. The chicks remain in this nursery before being moved to the wetland pens. Here they learn to roost in water to avoid predators at night seeking the safety of water once they are released into the wild.