(This is a summary of the work being done at BirdLife South Africa on the conservation of Secretarybirds)
· Funding is being sourced for BirdLife South Africa’s work on Secretarybirds:
o Singita Game Reserves will assist BirdLife South Africa with fundraising for Secretarybird research and conservation in the Grassland Biome. Elegant envelopes are being designed and these will be placed in the rooms at Singita lodges, where guests will have the opportunity to contribute to the Secretarybird Research Fund.
o The fundraising campaign for ‘Secretarybirds in the grasslands’ raised R100 000 in three weeks. It further received good publicity around Secretary’s Day – the initiative was advertised on 50/50 and Hanneline Smit did radio interviews with 702 and OFM.
o 20% of the proceeds from the sales of 100 Secretarybird bronze sculptures made by Allen Hallett will go to the conservation of Secretarybirds in South Africa’s grasslands.
o Brochures were designed and printed for fundraising for Secretarybirds for the SANParks West Rand Honorary Rangers Kruger birding weekends in January and February 2012. Sappi sponsored the printing of the A4 brochures.
o ACSA (Airports Company South Africa) has been approached to support Secretarybird research.
· The primary aims of the Secretarybird project is to monitor the movements of this species in the Grassland Biome, but the aims can be summarised as: (a) to determine the foraging range of the species, (b) to determine how different habitats influence the size of foraging ranges, and (c) to determine juvenile dispersal and survival.
· Various transmitters have been considered for this project. Ernst Retief met with SirTrack, a New Zealand company, and has been in contact with several other tracking companies. Trackers that will provide the best quality and most useful data cost about R25 000 each. It is proposed to use the CTT-1070 (Cellular Tracking Series) Series which provides accurate GPS locality data.