Historically, Albania has been home to all four of Europe’s vulture species. The annual arrival of Egyptian vultures in Albania from their wintering grounds was used by local people as a sign of the coming of spring. Locally the Egyptian vulture is known as the cuckoo horse, as it was thought the smaller bird hitched a ride with the vultures on their annual migration in spring!
However, the story in Albania today is very different. It is thought that the Egyptian vulture is the only vulture species left in Albania - and it is clinging on in very low numbers.
PPNEA (Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania) is an Albanian conservation organisation working towards bringing harmony between nature and human society in Albania. PPNEA is working hard to support Albania’s last remaining vultures, but desperately needs more information on these rare birds.
To tackle the problem, a group of UK volunteers, led by Kevin Hand from the Association for Cultural Exchange, are raising money to help PPNEA find and protect Albania's remaining vulture populations, with a particular focus on Egyptian vultures. The Saving Albania’s Vultures project aims to find out where these birds are breeding and exactly what is threatening their survival, so that PPNEA can protect these important sites and allow their populations to recover.
The project is aiming to raise £3000 by 26th April – anything you can give will be integral to the success of this project, and will go straight to enabling vulture conservation on the ground in Albania. Visit the Saving Albania’s Vultures project Crowdfunding page to find out more about donating, and to read the latest updates on the project.
With your help, Albanian conservationists can take a crucial step towards securing the future of the Egyptian vulture in a region where it has every right to thrive!
Photo: P. Jeganathan