At least 7 griffon vultures have been found dead in Cyrus since last November, probably poisoned. Four of the the birds had been released in Cyprus as part of a project to reinforce the extremely threatened island population (down to 2 breeding pairs), originating in Crete (3 birds) and the Limassol zoo – 1 bird, captive bred), while three of the birds were Cypriot (unmarked) vultures.
All birds were found in the same area, in the Paramali/Sterakovou area near Limassol, within a radius of 3 km. The birds were autopsied and samples were taken, for toxicological analysis.
It would be very important for the competent authorities, the Game and Fauna Service and the Cyprus Veterinary Services, to address these incidents in an effective manner and to carry out all necessary analyses and tests in order to establish the cause of death.
If this mortality continues, then there is a very real danger that all efforts made as part of the restocking project for the strengthening of the Griffon Vulture population in Cyprus under the ‘Cross Border Cooperation Programme Greece-Cyprus 2007-2013’, with participation of the Game and Fauna Service, BirdLife Cyprus and Department of Forests in Cyprus, will end up in vain.
Photos: Game and Fauna service