A big step for the survival of the Egyptian Vulture

04.05.2018
The Head of Evros Regional Unit (WWF/Ε.Vazaiou)

A workshop, co-organized by WWF Greece and the Directorate of Forest Management of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, has taken place on April 24th in Alexandroupolis, under the auspices of the Regional Unit of Evros. The main objective of the workshop was the planning of a local action plan for the control of the wildlife poisoning, through the development of procedures manual for local authorities and bodies of Evros and Rodopi Regions. It was attended by 60 representatives from public services and bodies such as Ministry of Environment and Energy, Decentralized Administration of Macedonia - Thrace, Eastern Macedonia - Thrace Region, Municipality of Alexandroupolis, Hellenic Police, Customs, National Park Management Bodies and the Hunting Federation of Macedonia and Thrace.
The Egyptian Vulture is a flagfship species for Greece and Europe, whose population dramatically declines. It is facing several natural threats, such as predators and a difficult long distant travel during migration, besides the illegal use of poison baits is added as a main threat not only for Egyptian Vulture but also for birds of prey and vultures. The numbers are really depressing: the last 30 years, the Egyptian Vulture population in Balkans has declined by more than 80%, with no more than 70 pairs remaining, 5 of which are in Greece. Due to this fact, actions aiming to secure and strengthen its population are crucial to be implemented. In this context, with main objective the Egyptian Vulture protection, that workshop aiming to the development of a Local Action Plan is essential as it is the first step of a series of actions for the effective conservation of Egyptian Vulture.
The workshop started with a welcome speech from the Head of Evros Regional Unit, Mr. Dimitrios Petrovits, who expressed the Eastern Macedonia - Thrace Region support to the prevention and combat of the wildlife poisoning. Ms Elzbieta Kret on behalf of WWF Greece, presented the results of the previous LIFE+ Project "The Return of the Neophron", as well as the actions that will be implemented under the new LIFE Project. One of this new project main targets is the collaboration and networking of public services, bodies, academic institutions, land users and civilians in order to eliminate the illegal use of poison baits. Moreover, actions such as seminars for poisoning incidents management or the operation of the anti-poison dog units, will play an important role.
Following WWF Greece presentation, Ms Effrosyni Karanika on behalf of Directorate of Agricultural Economy and Veterinary presented the online prescription of pesticides and its role in the prevention and combat of the wildlife poisoning. Hereupon, Ms. Eleni Giakoumi, on behalf of Directorate of Forest Management of the Ministry of Environment and Energy stressed the need for the development of Local Action Plans (LAPs) while she, together with Ms Theodora Skartsi (WWF Greece), described LAPs aim and their major pillars. The session ended with short presentations from representatives from the Management Body of the National Park of Dadia - Lefkimi - Soufli Forest, Customs of Kipoi and the Hunting Federation of Macedonia and Thrace.
Finally, the presentations followed by a fruitful discussion at the last session, concluded that the elimination of the illegal use of poison baits is extremely important and the collaboration from all involved under the coordination of the Ministry of Environment and Energy is crucial. Three basic pillars are needed to be developed: systematic recording of poisoning events, prevention and persecution of the illegal use of poison baits.

The representative from Ministry of Environment/General Directorate for Forests  (WWF/Ε.Vazaiou)
Representative from Kipoi Custom (WWF/Ε.Vazaiou)
Representative from Dadia National Park Management Body (WWF/Ε.Vazaiou)
Representative from Hunting Federation of Macedonia and Thrace (WWF/Ε.Vazaiou)
Representative from WWF (WWF/Ε.Vazaiou)
Representative from WWF (WWF/Ε.Vazaiou)
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