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SELATI'S VERREAUX'S EAGLES

The Selati Game Reserve is not just a sanctuary for iconic African fauna and flora but also serves as a vital refuge for one of Africa’s most enigmatic and under-studied birds of prey: the Verreaux’s Eagle. This majestic eagle, also known as the Black Eagle, represents an integral part of the complex ecological web that sustains life in this unique landscape. It’s not just about the eagles; it’s about preserving a vital part of an ecosystem increasingly stressed by human activities.

The Lillie hills within our reserve have long served as crucial breeding grounds for the Verreaux’s Eagles. This is not coincidental. These eagles prefer habitats like cliffs, rocky outcrops, and escarpments – conditions the Selati Game Reserve provides in abundance. Here, they find the optimal vantage points for hunting, contributing to the balance of the area’s ecosystem by naturally controlling populations of small to medium-sized mammals such as hyraxes and rock dassies.

The Verreaux’s Eagle is not merely another bird of prey; it symbolises the natural grandeur and resilience we aim to preserve and showcase. With wingspans of up to 2.4 metres and a keen predatory intelligence, these eagles are marvels of natural engineering. Beyond being an awe-inspiring sight, they carry cultural and spiritual significance in the African communities they inhabit.

However, like many other majestic creatures that call Africa home, the Verreaux’s Eagle faces challenges threatening its existence. Habitat loss, human interference and even persecution have led to its classification as a near-threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Given its importance to the ecosystems it inhabits and as a symbol of the natural heritage we’re committed to preserving, the Selati Wilderness Foundation finds it imperative to focus conservation efforts on this remarkable species.

Verreaux’s Eagle nest on Selati

Photo credit – Shane Wilken

OUR LIVE STREAM PROJECT

In 2023, the Selati Wilderness Foundation launched an innovative conservation initiative with a singular aim: to deepen our understanding of the Verreaux’s Eagles that inhabit the Selati Game Reserve. Utilising cutting-edge live-streaming technology, we offered an intimate view into the breeding behaviour of a pair of these extraordinary birds. As this remarkable project concludes, we invite you to reflect on the significant moments, challenges, and triumphs we’ve documented.

IMPORTANT MILESTONES & CHALLENGES

Our live-streaming technology enabled thousands of nature enthusiasts globally to witness key events in the life of this magnificent eagle pair. The first egg was laid on 15 May, closely followed by a second on 19 May. Though one egg, unfortunately, cracked on 6 June, we were elated when a resilient chick emerged from its shell between 29 and 30 June.

During July, August, and September, we had the privilege of closely watching the young chick grow, monitoring feeding patterns and wing-flapping exercises. This was an insightful journey, granting us invaluable data on the behaviour of these eagles.

Regrettably, we encountered technical difficulties with our camera system at a pivotal moment in late September. High winds are believed to have severed the camera’s connection, inhibiting our ability to provide live updates as the young eagle prepared to fledge.

Nevertheless, we obtained visual confirmation of the juvenile eagle in mid-October, marking a successful conclusion to our 2023 project.

📈 Eaglet Timeline

  • First egg laid on 15 May 2023 🥚
  • Second egg laid on 19 May 2023 🥚🥚
  • Egg cracked by parent on 6 June 2023 ✖️
  • Chick hatched 29/30 June 2023 🐣
  • Fledgling took flight during the first week of October 2023 🪽

Throughout the project, we curated a selection of video highlights that document key behaviours and events, from initial nest preparation to observed feeding patterns and the fledgling’s wing-flapping exercises.

HOW YOUR SUPPORT MADE A DIFFERENCE

Your engagement, whether through a complimentary membership or a financial donation, has been invaluable. These contributions not only fuelled this year’s project but also promise to support future studies and conservation initiatives within the Selati Game Reserve.

Thank you for being part of this extraordinary experience.

Through targeted conservation initiatives like these, the Selati Wilderness Foundation aims to ensure that the Verreaux’s Eagles continue to thrive in the Selati Game Reserve for generations to come.

DONATIONS

If you’re inspired by this project and wish to contribute further, you have the option to assist us by making a donation below. The proceeds from your contribution will go to the Selati Wilderness Foundation and will be deployed to further the conservation objectives of the organisation. Your contribution will go a long way towards protecting the Verreaux’s Eagles and other endangered species on the Selati Game Reserve.

To make an online donation with via our secure online payment gateway (Payfast), complete the form below. Under our list of beneficiaries, please select ‘Verreaux’s Eagle Project’. Alternatively, please support our project on GivenGain