Have you seen an African Fish Eagle on a recent visit to Kruger National Park (KNP)? A Bataleur? A Pallid Harrier? If you see these big birds, or a number of others on your next foray into the park, we’d like you to tell us about your sighting! Not sure what they look like? Not to worry - you'll soon find posters dotted around the park to help you out. You can e-mail your sightings to email@example.com or fill in this electronic sightings form.
SANParks, in collaboration with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and the "Stiffnecks" birdclub, are asking the public to help record bird sightings within the KNP. They have produced a number of large posters displaying photos of each bird to look out for, as well details for the submission of sighting reports.
This poster project is an exciting example of how the SANParks forum community is getting involved in conservation efforts. Jackie During, chairperson of the forum birdclub, the Stiffnecks, approached SANParks with the idea for the project as a way to involve the keen online birding community in research in the park.
With the invaluable assistance of Chris Patton and Dr Andrew Deacon from SANParks, the project was approved and soon grew into a collaborative effort with Andre Botha, manager of the Birds of Prey Working Group of the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
The Birds of Prey Working Group drew up the specific list of birds for which data is required and Andre Botha offered expertise and guidance throughout the design of the poster.
“When it came to collecting photos of the birds, some of them are very rarely photographed in this country” explains During, so “Rene Travers, Marketing Manager, Kruger National Park, pulled the proverbial rabbit out the hat and emails were soon flying back and forth throughout the birding circles in this country and overseas”. The end result was that all the images were sourced for use on the poster free of charge and, the cost of was covered by a West Coast business with a strong conservation ethos and a keen interest in birding.
It is hoped that this project will not only provide SANParks Scientific Services and the EWT with valuable data, but that it will also encourage visitors to the Kruger National Park to take a further interest in the many fascinating bird species to be found within the park.
If you’d like to make use of this poster or find out more about the project, contact Jackie During.
A very special thank you goes out to Jackie During, Pride Builders (who covered the costs of the posters), Andre Botha (EWT), SANParks Marketing Department, Peter Palatitz, Raptor Specialist, Birdlife Hungary ; Trevor Hardaker ; Warwick Tarboton ; Istvan Konyhas (Hungary); Chris Wormwell (Isle of Man), Mike Buckman, and Stiffnecks and forum members Ludwig Endres, Gwendolen Tee, Johan van Renburg, Ralph van Vuuren, Dalene Preston and finally young photographer Calvin Kipling for generously allowing the use of their superb photographs on the poster.