Wildlife ACT’s Bearded Vulture Monitor in Lesotho – Mapaseka Makoae

Introducing you to a Rhino Peak Challenge participant of our own, a young Mosotho woman, Mapaseka Makoae, aged 32, who hails from the little village of Makhapung in Mokhotlong district of Lesotho. Being born in the breathtakingly beautiful highlands of Lesotho, her love for the natural world started when she was young.

Wildlife ACT’s Bearded Vulture Monitor in Lesotho - Mapaseka Makoae
Mapaseka Makoae

Mapaseka followed her passion and worked as a mountaineer and tour guide for many years. Her love for nature did not stop there. In 2019 she started monitoring Bearded Vultures and has been working to save the species ever since.

Wildlife ACT’s Bearded Vulture Monitor in Lesotho - Mapaseka Makoae

Mapaseka’s work forms part of the Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project, a long-term collaborative project focused on the cliff-nesting Vultures of the Maloti mountains in Lesotho and the Drakensberg mountains in South Africa. The species include the Bearded Vulture and the Cape Vulture.

The Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) is a regionally Critically Endangered species in Southern Africa whose entire range in the Southern Hemisphere falls within the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa and Lesotho. A project was initiated in 2000 to determine the breeding status of the species and has more recently undertaken research and monitoring to quantify the decline in the species, investigate the mechanisms of this decline, and determine the most appropriate management actions necessary to attain the short-term species’ conservation target of a positive population growth rate.

Wildlife ACT’s Bearded Vulture Monitor in Lesotho - Mapaseka Makoae
All photos by Mapaseka Makoae

The Bearded Vulture population is estimated at between 368-408 individuals (only 109-221 breeding pairs!) and occupies a breeding range of 28,125 km2. Research has shown that human impacts are driving the decline, with the primary causes of mortality being poisoning and collisions with powerlines.

Mapaseka is taking part in this year’s Rhino Peak Challenge in support of Wildlife ACT’s Vulture conservation efforts and she needs your help to reach her fundraising target! Please support Mapaseka and the amazing work she does as Wildlife ACT’s Bearded Vulture Monitor.

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