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Gerrit Vyn on the Lammergeier

Understanding leads to appreciation -- and conservation!

Sound recordist and photographer, Gerrit Vyn, spent two years in the Peace Corps in the mountains of Lesotho. He worked with a chief named Ntate Letsie in the village of Selemong. His people believed that the Lammergeiers, or Bearded Vultures, that nested on the cliff near their village preyed upon their sheep. But Lammergeiers eat only bones, and the chief proved that to them. Their new understanding led to the creation of the Quthing Wildlife Development Trust. Be sure to watch the amazing video by the BBC to learn more about Lammergeiers.

Full Transcript

Gerrit Vyn on the Lammergeier

Interviewed by John Kessler & Ellen Blackstone

This is BirdNote!
[African khoba dance-song from Lesotho]
Sound recordist and photographer, Gerrit Vyn, spent two years in the Peace Corps in the mountains of Lesotho. He met a chief who wanted the people to take better care of the wildlife, especially an extraordinary bird. Here’s Gerrit to describe what the chief did:   [African music Infados]
The first thing that he was able to do was to prove to the villagers that a bird called the Lammergeier – or “bearded vulture” – was not a threat to their livestock. This bird is an amazingly big vulture; it has a wingspan of almost ten feet. 

The Lammergeier… basically eats bone marrow. It‘ll take bones from deceased animals, pick them up, soar with them in the air, drop the bones, and then they splinter open, and then it devours the bones.

The people thought these vultures killed their animals, which they didn’t. So the chief built a corral beneath the nesting cliffs near his village, put a bunch of sheep in there, [sounds of sheep] left them there for a long period of time, and the villagers saw that these sheep went completely unharmed. He then went and removed the sheep, put a bunch of bones in the area, and then the birds started coming and collecting the bones, breaking them and eating them. [Feeding sounds of Lammergeirer]

And the villagers saw this, and he had taught them a very simple lesson…that this bird was not a threat to them or their livestock.

To see a truly exceptional video about the Lammergeier, produced by the BBC, begin at our website, 
 [Close with African khoba dance-song ]
Sounds of the Lammergeier from the BBC video
Music selected from khoba-dance song, artist: augustina mokhosoa, cd:music of Lesotho. And selection from Infados composed by Kevin MacLeod
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2013 Tune In to          September 2016/2019    Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#   lammergeier-vyng-01-2011-09-14

Sights & Sounds

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