Workshop to secure the survival of Egyptian Vulture populations in the Balkans, Central Asia and the Caucasus, and along its migration flyway was held in Sofia, Bulgaria

13.07.2015
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Photo: Dimitar Gradinarov

A workshop dedicated to the conservation of the globally threatened Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) was held from 5 to 8 July 2015 in Bulgaria. The main goal was to develop an International Egyptian Vulture Flyway Action Plan to secure the survival of the Balkan, Caucasian and Central Asian populations, including along the flyway and in the wintering grounds.

The workshop brought together over 70 government officials, scientists, researchers and specialists from 33 countries in which the vultures breed, visit or spend the winter.  During the workshop a combination of the following threats have been identified to cause Egyptian vulture population declines: poisoning, due to persecution of predators or inappropriate use of agricultural chemicals, prevailing use of lead shot; insufficient amount of accessible food caused by habitat degradation and santiation practices; collisions with windfarms and electrocutions on power lines; disturbance at breeding sites illegal harvesting for traditional medicine in some African countries.

Regarding to the threats were identified the following priorities: reduce threats from all types of poisoning, reduce illegal killing, trade and disturbance; prevent electrocution and collisions (turbines), build capacity in Central Asia, Africa and Middle East, promote research (outside breeding areas), improve exchange of information. All stakeholders are called to adopt the International Egyptian Vulture Flyway Action Plan and to improve their coordination and scale up the ongoing conservation efforts for the species.

The Egyptian Vulture is the only migrant vulture in Europe and is classified as Endangered due to recent rapid population declines throughout its range (in the Balkans alone, the population has decreased by over 80% in the last 30 years).  The International Flyway Action Plan will act as a pivotal tool to guide trans-continental cooperation and the implementation of conservation measures to ensure the long-term survival of Egyptian Vulture populations in the Balkans, Central Asia and the Caucasus, Middle East and Africa (all together sheltering about 40% of the global population).

The organisation of this international workshop is being led by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB)/BirdLife Bulgaria. It is being developed as part of the LIFE+ project “The Return of the Neophron”, funded by the European Commission and A. G. Leventis foundation, and the Project SSFA/CMSAD/2014/005, funded by the CMS - Raptors MoU.

You could find the Declaration from the attendees here, the list with participants here, presentations from the workshop here and photos here.

Photo: Dimitar Gradinarov
Photo: Dimitar Gradinarov
Photo: Dimitar Gradinarov
Photo: Dimitar Gradinarov
Photo: Dimitar Gradinarov
Photo: Dimitar Gradinarov
Photo: Dimitar Gradinarov
Photo: Dimitar Gradinarov
Photo: Dimitar Gradinarov
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