Conserving birds of prey

Birds of prey are iconic to the African landscape. Conserving birds of prey is also critical to the health of ecosystems and other species. Furthermore, birds of prey are important to people, as they have social, cultural, and religious importance for many African communities.

From vast savannahs to rugged mountain ranges, forests, grasslands, and river systems throughout southern Africa, birds of prey populations are declining fast. As a result, they are now amongst the most threatened groups of species. In fact, many species, vultures, in particular, are drawing rapidly closer to extinction.

It is our responsibility to ensure that wild populations remain viable and healthy. To that end, the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s goal is to protect and improve the conservation status of threatened birds of prey and conserve the habitats they need to thrive. Doing so also directly benefits other wildlife and people.

What we do

We work in the field to save these species by creating and securing safe spaces where raptor populations can breed, feed, and flourish. We achieve this through:

  • Targeted conservation planning
  • On the ground action
  • Innovative technology
  • Local and global partnerships
  • Community work
  • Education and awareness
  • Legislative support

All of our projects are backed by science, and we continually monitor the populations we work with to better understand the threats they face and the impacts of the work we do to save them.

Our target species include:

  • African Hawk-Eagle
  • Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle
  • Verreaux’s Eagle
  • Secretarybird
  • Southern-Banded Snake Eagle
  • Black Harrier
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Pel’s Fishing Owl
  • African Grass Owl
  • Taita Falcon
  • Jackal Buzzard
  • Bearded Vulture
  • White-backed Vulture
  • Hooded Vulture
  • White-headed Vulture
  • Cape Vulture
  • Lappet-faced Vulture
  • Tawny Eagle
  • Bateleur
  • Martial Eagle
  • Wahlberg’s Eagle
  • Crowned Eagle
Raptors rescued infographic

The EWT Birds of Prey Programme operates in eight of South Africa’s provinces, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Botswana. Our priority sites are shown on the map.

Map of locations we work in to save birds of prey

Figure 1. The shaded regions indicate the main areas of operation for the EWT Birds of Prey Programme; from the raptor rich landscapes of the eastern parts of southern Africa; to the mighty Limpopo, Blyde, and Olifants river systems home to Pels Fishing Owls and numerous vulture species; to the grasslands of the Highveld – home to the threatened Grass Owl; to the mountainous regions of the Eastern Cape and Lesotho that host numerous cliff-nesting vultures; to the great arid Karoo and Kalahari that many eagles and vultures call home.

Some of our impacts during 2021 included:

Karoo vulture safe zone infographic
2021 © Endangered Wildlife Trust with help from the Artifact Team