1% FOR THE PLANET
AFRACEUTICALS, holding company of PELAFORCE™, is a proud member of 1% for the Planet, a global movement whose members contribute at least one percent of their annual revenue to environmental causes. We recognise that our business profits from natural resources that are harvested from the environment. We are committed not only to the protection of the African wilderness, but also to the conservation and regeneration of the wildlife we share it with.
As with all funded conservation projects, transparency is vital. This transparency will be achieved by actively monitoring and evaluating the project’s operational performance and results against agreed KPI’s (key performance indicators). Monthly reports will be delivered on various aspects of the project including project objectives, cost outcomes, challenges and any additionally identified conservation opportunities.
A CONVERSATION ABOUT CONSERVATION
The continued survival of the continent’s indigenous fauna and flora is intrinsically intertwined with the wellbeing of the communities with which they share the land.
Although wildlife tourism has, to varying degrees, benefitted rural communities living adjacent to protected areas, the development of long-term and sustainable livelihood opportunities that support, rather than hinder wildlife conservation, remains a challenge. Today, any candid discussion regarding the conservation of Africa's wildlife and natural ecosystems that does consider the needs of the local communities living within or in close proximity to wilderness areas, remains incomplete.
An estimated 60% of Africa’s wildlife has been lost in the last 40 years. The cause of this continent-wide decline has been attributed mainly to the encroachment of a rapidly increasing human population on wildlife habitats, resulting in habitat loss, unsustainable hunting practices, commercial and subsistence poaching, and illegal wildlife trade.
The sustainable development of agroforestry-based, community owned micro-enterprise, whereby Africa’s indigenous and naturalised flora are cultivated, harvested and traded by community members, has the potential to play an essential role in rural community economic and social development. This approach will reduce the incentives to engage in wildlife poaching, deforestation activity and illegal wildlife trade.
INDLOVU AERIAL TRUST
Indlovu Aerial Trust is a registered South African non-profit organisation (NPO No. IT000118/2018(N)) focusing on conservation and eco-commerce projects.
PELAFORCE™ and Indlovu Aerial Trust have partnered closely on the development of sustainable and equitable supply chains for wild-harvested raw materials in southern Africa including baobab fruit from Mozambique, marula nut from eSwatini and Pelargonium root from Lesotho.
The Indlovu Aerial Trust approach to conservation through community development was seeded while operating in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park as part of a WWF-funded, drone assisted anti-poaching and human-wildlife conflict initiative.
The PELAFORCE™ strategy team is determined to make a tangible difference to the lives of rural communities and the wildlife they share the African wilderness with. Learning from the successes and failures of previous anti-poaching, conservation and community development projects, Quin Clark, Dane Poulsen, Caitlin Gilfillan and Ché-Lee Parker set out to develop, promote and deliver a sustainable business strategy that would directly benefit wildlife conservation and the concurrent livelihoods of rural African communities, while providing economic opportunities to rural communities.
While sharing a common passion for Africa's people and wildlife, each team member brings a unique set of skills and personal accomplishments to the programme. The team's diverse cultural, academic and professional backgrounds, in addition to individual experience and capability, have culminated in a talented and capable group with the range of skills necessary to make this programme both effective and successful.
BEARDED VULTURE (SOUTHERN AFRICA)
Scientific Name: Gypaetus barbatus meridionalis
Afrikaans: Baardaasvoël, lammergeier, ossifrage
Weight (adult): ~6 kg
Length (adult): ~110 cm
Wingspan (adult): ~2.6 metres
Life expectancy: ~20 years (wild)
Plumage: Bearded vultures have striking rufous (copper) coloured plumage, distinctive "beard feathers", red eyes and long, diamond-shaped tails. Adult bearded vultures sport a coat of snow-white feathers on their necks, shoulders and chests. On this white feathery canvas, the vultures paint a shade of rusty red by bathing in soils or water rich in red iron oxide deposits.
Breeding: The breeding season is during winter (May-July). Two eggs are laid and only a single chick is raised each season.
Diet: Bearded vultures are scavengers, eating predominantly bone and bone marrow, which make up around 85 to 90 % of their diet. The bearded vulture is the only bird species that specialises in feeding on marrow. Bones that are too large to swallow are carried up to height and dropped on to rocks. The bearded vulture will hunt live prey, specialising in tortoises, with the tortoises being dropped from a height to break open the shell.
Distribution: Bearded vultures are found in the Drakensberg escarpment and surrounding foothills. Seldomly found below 1000m above sea level, they have been recorded at an altitude of 7500m.
"MONARCH OF THE MOUNTAINS" AND A BIRD ON THE EDGE
South Africa and Lesotho are home to the African bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus meridionalis) sub-species, which is considered critically endangered in southern Africa and whose entire range in the southern hemisphere falls within the Maluti-Drakensberg mountains. A drastic decline in the bearded vultures’ range and numbers during the past century has resulted in an isolated population that is restricted to this region.
The population reduction is largely due to persistent threats, such as persecution for use in traditional medicine, accidental poisoning through feeding on bait left for predators, and collisions with power lines.
In order for this species to survive, education and public awareness objectives need to be implemented so as to bring about attitude and behaviour change.
With only 350 individual birds and 109 breeding pairs remaining, the bearded vulture is listed as critically endangered in the Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland (Eskom) due to its small and declining population size, restricted range, range contraction, and susceptibility to environmental conditions and human activities.
SILVER HILL LODGE BEARDED VULTURE PROJECT
Silver Hill Lodge, a privately owned 500-hectare tract of threatened midlands mist belt grasslands at the foot of the Maluti-Drakensberg mountains, is located at the heart of the bearded vulture’s range in South Africa.
In collaboration with PELAFORCE™ and Indlovu Aerial Trust, and with technical support from Endangered Wildlife Trust and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Silver Hill Lodge has recently embarked on a conservation journey that will see this property placed under formal protection. By 2023, Silver Hill Lodge aims to be gazetted as a nature reserve under the Protected Areas Act.
CONSERVATION PROJECT OBJECTIVES
Establishment of supplemental feeding sites
Species monitoring and documentation
Establishment of partnerships with specialised breeding programmes
Funding assistance for bearded vulture breeding programmes
Public education and awareness programmes
Technical and infrastructure funding