recent vulture re-sightings at REST

Let me make absolutely clear that I *only* ever share my concerns about gung ho NGOs in the social media.  I don’t do private banter, since this simply doesn’t result in meaningful outcomes.  
While a private distribution membership list (e.g., NAMRINGERS) is as good a social media forum as any, I do actually prefer much wider-reaching public media like my blog  –

where I  re-emphasize my concerns about  *failure* to submit biannual ringing and patagial tag records to Holger Kolberg of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. 
Who ringed White-backed Vultures with the patagial tags R 110 and R 183, when I have confirmation that REST was provided with this series of patagial tags?  
Let me not detract from the original objective of my message to NAMRINGERS – to inform a reporter (and others, including SAFRING) that there are NO patagial tag records for the series prefix *R*  to be found in the otherwise *comprehensive* list of vulture metal ring records for NAMIBIA provided by Holger!  
What it boils down to, is that either REST or Holger of MET is being somewhat flexible with the truth.  I’m personally leaning towards Holger being the more credible party in this matter…
If REST has used bona fide vulture ringer/taggers, its failure to regularly report the use of patagial tags to Holger is  *unprofessional*.  Plain and simple.  Especially if there are at least 183 vultures flying around Namibia with these *R* tags.
As far as I know Otjozondjupa has not seceded from Namibia, nor is it administered as a (former) fifth province of our neighbouring state, South Africa.   It’s high time that this absurd state of affairs is sorted out.  Anyone who rings birds in Namibia must conform to its rules – please report all rings (AND TAGS!) used to Holger … and SAFRING.   
For reason that SAFRING is the *custodian* agency for information on *all* birds ringed in southern Africa.  We’ve adopted several of SAFRING’s  rules and guiding principles to ensure that our national bird-ringing and colour-marking schemes adhere to some sensible, nay logical,  standards.  
For example, colour rings.   We had always used FIVE colour rings on vultures. 

We had Steve Piper come up with some pretty amazing insights on this clever colour scheme, way back when.  So we collaborated with, and adopted the Vulture Study Group standard –  

metal, colour, colour  on one leg;   colour, colour, colour on the other leg.    
Pretty simple, plenty of colour combinations, with some odds that the *loss* of any one, or more, colour rings would obviously prevent us from reporting and identifying the individual if  re-sighted somewhere in southern/central/eastern Africa.   
Until REST decides to use their own, independent,  standard –   
metal, colour on one leg;  colour, colour, colour on other leg 
– in the same population of vultures ringed in Namibia.  This independent decision is about as stupid as it gets.

And it’s the reason why we, mostly, have collaboration between ringers, ringer training  programmes and prompt ring-reporting mechanisms.   Largely to avoid the need to do any kind of policing of gung ho NGOs.
If there’s going to be another “strategic action planning meeting” of vulture enthusiasts and their whipmaster, they must make sure this problem goes away.  

Frankly, if MET doesn’t do something urgently about managing gung ho NGOs in Namibia, we’ll continue to be treated badly by the media who simply don’t understand the real issues at stake here.  So a captive cape vulture breeding project with imported birds (loud protests about Cuba from South African vocalists reverberate!) is the shining path for vulture conservation in Namibia?  Seriously?  It’s no wonder there are so many happy-clappies in the world.  All it takes is a near-hysterical Creflo Dollar.

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Posted in #namibia, birding, camera trap, diekman, etosha, namringers, narrec, poisoning, rest, tagging, vulture

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