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Activity patterns of African White-backed Vultures Gyps africanus in relation to different land-use practices and food availability

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Changing patterns in land use in relation to the breeding distribution and foraging behaviour of the African White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus were investigated around Kimberley, South Africa. Recent land-use trends indicate a significant increase in game farming and a decrease in traditional cattle and sheep enterprises. Combined cattle and game farms were significantly larger than other farm types and associated with land-use activities that positively affect vulture behaviour. Vulture breeding colonies were found in Acacia woodland areas that are associated mostly with cattle farms and combined cattle and game farms. Food availability, as either livestock mortalities or animals wounded by hunters, was positively associated with vulture activity except on farms with sheep, which had less vulture activity than other farm types. The observed increase in area used for game farming is concluded to offer potential benefits to the resident African White-backed Vulture population. Ostrich 2008, 79(2): 191–198

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