Next week as part of our Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project we are hosting a three day workshop looking at the practice of illegal wildlife poisoning across the Balkan Peninsula. The workshop will bring together a range of people from non-governmental organisation working on vulture conservation and governmental agencies responsible for the environment from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, North Macedonia, Serbia and from across Europe to share how the conservation projects in the region are protecting vultures and the future directions to tackle this threat in the region.
Single biggest threat to vultures in the Balkans
Just 30 years ago the Balkan Peninsula was home to all four species of European vultures. However, today, the Bearded and Cinereous Vultures are are now on the edge of regional extinction, with the first one virtually extinct on the Balkan Peninsula, Egyptian Vultures populations has declined dramatically and continue to fall and whilst Griffon Vultures are recovering in some Balkan countries they have disappeared from most countries in the region. The cause for this decline and the main issue preventing the comeback of vultures in the Peninsula is the illegal practice of wildlife poisoning.
Our groundbreaking study published in 2018, part of our Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project, conservatively estimated that in the last 20 years alone 2,300 vultures have died as a result of illegal wildlife poisoning.
The Balkan Anti-Poisoning Workshop
Bringing together our partners on the Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project with other organisations and agencies from across the region the Balkan Vulture Anti-Poisoning Workshop aims to review the status of populations of the fours species of vultures and the conservation actions tackling wildlife poisoning. Participants will also have the opportunity to share their expertise to help shape the strategies aimed at dealing with the practice in the six countries that are part of the Balkans Anti-Poisoning Project as well as develop their knowledge and skills in investigation techniques, procedures and protocols.
National roadmaps and discussions
Since the Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project was launched in 2018 we have been supporting partners in each of the target countries to engage with governmental organisations and other stakeholders in their country to develop Anti-Poisoning Roadmaps. Each of the Roadmaps highlighting specific issues occuring in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, North Macedonia and Serbia and the route to address the threat of illegal wildlife poisoning.
Projects tackling illegal wildlife poisoning
Over the last 10 years there has significant investment in vulture conservation across the Balkan Peninsula including measures to tackle illegal wildlife poisoning. As part of sharing expertise participants at the Workshop will hear from the region’s five major European Union LIFE funded vulture conservation projects who will present their work protecting vultures from illegal wildlife poisoning. These include: LIFE for Kresna Gorge - led by the Fund for Wild Fauna and Flora and running between 2012 and 2016; Egyptian Vulture New LIFE - led by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds; LIFE Re-Vultures - this project led by the Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation and Vultures Back to LIFE – led by Green Balkans and the anti-poisoning activities in the Pannonian region under LIFE Helicon & LIFE Pannon Eagle.
Spain is at the forefront of tackling illegal wildlife poisoning and as part of the Workshop we have invited representatives from Spanish authorities to lead a elementary training course based on the experience of implementing the Spanish strategy against wildlife poisoning. The second day is dedicated to a practical training course on issues around protocols surrounding collection of samples, toxicological analyses and juridical procedures and persecution.
On the final day of the workshop participants will visit the Griffon Vulture colonies at the Uvac Special Reserve.
This Workshop is organized by the Vulture Conservation Foundation, funds have been provided by MAVA and is being co-hosted in Serbia by Special Nature reserve Uvac, Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia/BirdLife Serbia and Birds of Prey Protection Foundation and Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia.