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To the North
Corinne Kendall — in East Africa Project    Share

2009 was a very dry year and perhaps as a result the vultures really didn’t need to move that far. That said, the movement data from 2009 was impressive with several of our tagged vultures travelling long distances and using large areas, sometimes more than 100,000 km2 in an eight-month period. 2010 has been rather different – with lots of rain from February onwards and one of the most amazing wildebeest migrations seen in years, at least from the Masai Mara perspective – with these ungulates coming in large numbers and staying in the Mara for a long period of time. The vultures appear to be responding accordingly. Although the bulk of the birds are still sticking close to the Mara, we have had some interesting long distance travels. Just in the past month, the vultures tagged this year have moved farther north and farther south than any individual during our first year of study. Perhaps most exciting are the northern movement with one Ruppell’s vulture going past Nanyuki and Meru appearing to head towards Lake Turkana. So far we are yet to have any birds travel out of Kenya-Tanzania, so with just 200 more miles to go to reach Ethiopia to the North and only about 100 miles to the west to reach Uganda, this bird might be getting its passport stamped any day now. Take a look at the two maps at slightly different scales to see what I mean – look for the read dot that represents the bird.

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