This week as part of our LIFE Rupis project led by Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves (SPEA) we are hosting a two day networking meeting in Freixo de Espada à Cinta, Portugal sharing good practice between other vulture conservation projects relating to Egyptian Vultures.
Over the last four years the project has been working to tackle threats the 135 breeding pairs face in the area such as working with electricity companies EDP Distribuição, in Portugal and Spain’s Iberdrola and Red Eléctrica de España to insulate the most dangerous power lines and tackle the illegal practice of wildlife poisoning with the creation of an anti-poisoning canine detection unit. The team have also been improving the supply of food for this population with the creation of supplementary feeding stations in collaboration with local farmers and butchers. Part of the project, funded by the European Union’s LIFE programme and the MAVA Foundation, has involved tracking the movements of birds to help identify any threats they may encounter along their annual migration to their winter grounds in sub-Saharan Africa.
These actions help to meet the project’s aims to strengthen the population of Egyptian Vultures of the Douro Canyon on the Spain-Portugal border and this year will draw to an end.
The meeting we are hosting from Thursday 28 February to Saturday 2 March will bring our partners and stakeholders together to review the progress of the project to date and plan for actions to continue this work and plan future conservation measures that will support and protect the Egyptian Vultures of the region.
As well as planning for future conservation measures the meeting will share experiences and good practice around supplementary feeding stations.
Over the course of the meeting we’ve invited colleagues from across Europe to share their experiences on Egyptian Vulture conservation projects these include:
Working across Sicily the LIFE ConRaSi project led by WWF Italy is working to improve the population status of three raptors, the Egyptian Vulture, Bonelli’s Eagle and Lanner Falcon. 65 percent of Italy’s breeding population of Egyptian Vultures are found on Sicily but the population has suffered an 85-90 percent reduction in the last 30 years leaving just five breeding pairs as a result of changes in agricultural practices and the reduction in goat and sheep grazing in the countryside.
LIFE Egyptian Vulture
Outside of the Sicilian population the Italian, there are a further three breeding pairs on mainland Italy in the southern region of Basilicata and Calabria. The LIFE Egyptian Vulture project is carrying out work to prevent the extinction of the species on mainland Italy and also improve the conservation status of a population of a non-migratory subspecies of Egyptian Vultures found only on the Canary Island of Fuerteventura.
French National Action Plan for Egyptian Vultures
In France there are around 80-100 breeding pairs left in the country in two regions, a larger population in the western Pyrenees of around 80 pairs and a smaller population in the Mediterranean region extending from the regions of Herault to the Alpes de Haute Provence. The French National Action Plan for Egyptian Vultures coordinated by the Ministry for the Environment is a nine year plan that began in 2015 with the aim of better understanding the French population and implement actions to improve the status of the species in France.
Bringing together these projects and sharing good practice is vital to help conserve the Egyptian Vulture in Europe, which unlike the other three species of European vultures, the numbers are declining.