A classic symbol of death, and synonymous with grim foreboding events, movies and books are often used to illustrate vultures as gloomy and villainous creatures. Some cultures even practice sky burials, which link vultures direcvulture-culturetly to the natural cremation of loved ones, and in other cultures it is frowned upon to even mention vultures in casual conversation. It is therefore no secret that these magnificent birds have never been an appreciated member of the animal kingdom in any culture…except in our Cango culture!
We aim to change your view of vultures with our brand-new vulture enclosure “The Wasteland!” The Wasteland is inhabited by two incredibly beautiful Cape Vultures, Wednesday and Pugsley. Now if the name of the enclosure and its residents sounds a little ominous (inspired by the renowned childhood-favourite film; The Adams Family), do not let that fool you…Wednesday and Pugsley are fitting names for these playful, mischievous and endearing youngsters.
Wednesday and Pugsley were born and raised at Vulpro, a Non-Profit organisation that specializes in the conservation of Vultures across Southern Africa. Non-releasable vultures that come into VulPro’s care for rehabilitation form part of the ex-situ (captive) population and are bred to produce individuals for their pilot release studies. Not all chicks that are born there, however, are eligible for release due to various reasons. These chicks will either be part of Vulpro’s breeding program or become ambassadors for their species, like Pugsley and Wednesday.
Our Non-profit organisation, The Cheetah Preservation Foundation partnered up with Vulpro in 2013 and ever since, we have contributed financially and we fly the vulture flag high so that we can collectively reach and educate people on the importance of conserving vultures.
Vultures face multiple threats in the wild, including but not limited to declining habitats, power-line electrocutions and accidents, poisoning and killing off due to various cultural beliefs. Some vulture species are critically endangered and can face extinction within our lifetime, with some numbers having decreased by more than 90% in the past 30 years. The only hope is for us to take a stand and reduce the rate at which their numbers are decreasing.
Amongst environmentalists, vultures are known as the ecosystem’s clean-up crew. Vultures are experts in the field when it comes to keeping bacteria and diseases at bay, as their stomach acid is strong enough to kill most natural toxins. As a result, vultures play a crucial role in natural carcass recycling and the health of ecosystems.
The motivation behind The Wasteland is to enlighten visitors of the importance of these misunderstood birds, and the challenges that they face in the wild. Wednesday and Pugsley are currently in a training program to enable them to feel comfortable with visitors entering their enclosure for a closer controlled meeting. The knowledgeable caregivers are smitten with their new besties and spend time ensuring that all their needs are met at the highest possible standards. Unique husbandry training will also allow for visitors to meet our feathered friends face to face.
Upon entering ‘The Wasteland’, you may feel like you are walking into a deserted burial ground, with petrifying scavengers waiting to pick you apart… but when you exit the enclosure, after having met the two “ghastly creatures”, we guarantee that you will feel inspired to make a difference in our fight to save these magnificent birds. When you realize just how essential vultures are to the ecosystem, paired that with happy flapping and charming squeals, you will never look at them as the frightening morticians you once viewed them to be0.
Vultures are indeed the unsung heroes of the natural world. Please feel free to come and appreciate them at Cango Wildlife Ranch in Oudtshoorn.
Conserve, Care and Connect.