Quantifying the spatial distribution and trends of supplementary feeding sites in South Africa and their potential contribution to vulture energetic requirements

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/320389

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Brink , C W , Santangeli , A , Amar , A , Wolter , K , Tate , G , Krüger , S , Tucker , A S & Thomson , R L 2020 , ' Quantifying the spatial distribution and trends of supplementary feeding sites in South Africa and their potential contribution to vulture energetic requirements ' , Animal Conservation , vol. 23 , no. 5 , pp. 491-501 . https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12561

Title: Quantifying the spatial distribution and trends of supplementary feeding sites in South Africa and their potential contribution to vulture energetic requirements
Author: Brink, C. W.; Santangeli, A.; Amar, A.; Wolter, K.; Tate, G.; Krüger, S.; Tucker, A. S.; Thomson, R. L.
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
Date: 2020-10
Number of pages: 11
Belongs to series: Animal Conservation
ISSN: 1367-9430
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/320389
Abstract: Old world vultures are the most threatened group of raptors globally. Supplementary feeding sites (SFS) are a popular conservation tool, widely used to assist vulture populations. Despite their popularity, the impact of SFS on vultures remains largely unstudied. A lack of knowledge on the number, distribution and management of SFS is a key factor hindering such research. In this study, we compile records of SFS in South Africa and conduct questionnaires with SFS managers to characterize SFS. We identify 143 currently active SFS. Our data suggest that SFS numbers have been stable over the last decade. The average provisioning rate for all SFS was 64.6 kg day(-1). Overall SFS provide an estimated 3301 tonnes of food to scavengers each year, the equivalent of 83% of the energetic needs of all vultures in the region. This contribution was highly skewed, however, with just 17% of active SFS sites providing 69% of all food. Furthermore, these resources were not equally distributed, with SFS in Limpopo, North West and Kwazulu-Natal provinces providing 83% of the total meat provisioned. The three most common meat types provided at SFS were beef (39%), pork (33%) and game (19%). Worryingly, we found that 68% and 28% of SFS managers were unaware of the potential harmful effects of lead and veterinary drugs, respectively, which highlights potential poisoning risks associated with SFS. Examining exposure to SFS by different vulture species, we found that whilst SFS are accessible across the distribution range of vultures with large home ranges (e.g. African white-backed and Cape vultures), those species with smaller home ranges have relatively poor accessibility. With this study, we demonstrate the potential importance, but also associated risks, of SFS to vultures in South Africa, and provide the information base to assess the impacts of this popular but as yet largely unassessed conservation tool.
Subject: COMPETITION
CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT
EXPOSURE
HOME-RANGE
INCREASE
MEAT QUALITY
POPULATION
PRODUCTIVITY
SLAUGHTER
WIDESPREAD
anthropogenic food
conservation management
energetics
food supplementation
scavengers
supplementary feeding
vulture restaurants
vultures
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1172 Environmental sciences
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