Some time ago we reported that at least 7 griffon vultures were found dead in Cyprus probably poisoned. The results of the toxicological analysis, done in Israel by the Nature and Parks Authority, have finally been published: Carbofuran, an extremely toxic pesticide, which has been banned in the EU since 2007. The birds also tested positive for two other chemicals, Tebuconazole and Propamocarb, both fungicides of relatively low toxicity. The birds probably ate poisoned baits put against foxes or stray dogs.
This is a serious blow to the conservation of the griffon vultures in Cyprus, which has recently seen its population reinforced by restocking with birds from Crete after falling down to only 2 breeding pairs - four of the the birds poisoned had been released while the other three were Cypriot (unmarked) vultures. There are now about 25 griffon vultures left in Cyprus.
The availability of carbofuran in Cyprus is of grave concern – it is important now that the competent authorities, the Game and Fauna Service and the Cyprus Veterinary Services, address this issue in an effective manner. 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 will end up in vain.
Photos: Cyprus Game and Fauna Service