Egyptian vultures are declining almost everywhere across its range, and due to that the species is classified as Globally Endangered. However the French population has stabilized in recent years following a significant conservation effort and investment through several projects and initiatives.
In a new paper, Nicolas Lieury and colleagues analysed 16-yr of demography data for a population of Egyptian vultures in south-eastern France, that underwent an historical decline but became more recently stable, using an integrated population model. They found out that supplementary feeding stations improved survival rates and successfully stabilised the local demography of Egyptian vultures, which was historically declining. They also found that immigration was a crucial factor, as it reinforced the dynamics of the population - throughout the study period, about two thirds of the new recruits into the breeding population were immigrants, and immigration constantly sustained the Egyptian vulture population in south-eastern France.
This study highlights the positive impact of vulture restaurants on Egyptian vulture population restoration, eventually by compensating for natural food limitations. It also points out that having large source populations well conserved somewhere in Europe will probably play an important role.
The VCF and partners are now starting a project to conserve this species in the Douro-Duero region of Spain, where special attention will be devoted to supplementary feeding.
can download the paper below.