Flyway Action Plan (EVFAP)
Flyway Action Plan for the Conservation of the Balkan and Central Asian Populations of the Egyptian Vulture (EVFAP)
© Torsten Prohl
The Egyptian vulture is recognized as globally ‘Endangered’(EN) species by IUCN due to the rapid population decline in most of its range, especially across Europe, Africa and India. The Balkan population has declined by 80% over the last 30 years and currently is under serious threat of extinction. The Egyptian vultures from the Balkans are long distance migrants wintering in Sahel zone of Africa, and much of evidenced mortality occurs along the flyway. Thus, to stop the decline of the Balkan population, in 2015 the LIFE+ project The Return of the Neophron in collaboration with the CMS-Raptors MoU initiated the development of a Flyway Action Plan (EVFAP). Considering the partial overlap of migration routes, huge gaps in the knowledge and strong need of action also for some of the neighboring populations, the focus of the EVFAP are the Egyptian vultures breeding across the Balkans, Central Asia and Caucasian region, migrating through the Middle East and wintering in Central and Eastern Africa. The overall goal of the EVFAP, in the long term, is to improve the conservation status of the Egyptian vulture in the FAP range, initially leading to its downlisting to Vulnerable and eventually achieving a favourable conservation status of the species across its range. More specific objectives are to maintain the current population level in the areas with stable populations and to reverse negative population trends in those parts of the FAP range where large declines were reported over the last 30 years.
The EVFAP kick-off event was a workshop held in 2015 in Sofia, where over 70 researchers, conservationists and representatives of the authorities from 33 countries took part. The major threats along the flyway that were addressed were poisoning, electrocution and collisions with energy infrastructure, and direct persecution. The Action Plan also seeks to address the following needs: long-term research and monitoring; designation of protected areas (non-EU); building conservation capacity; improving exchange of information; coordination of NGO driven initiatives; partnerships with industry (e.g. energy, agriculture); and improving awareness-raising and publicity. It is envisaged that the EVFAP will be implemented over a 10-year period, reviewed every five years and updated every 10 years.
The EVFAP is due to be finalized by the end of 2016 with the aim that it be integrated as a key component of the Multi-species Action Plan to conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP) which is due to be submitted for adoption at CMS COP12, scheduled to be held in October 2017.