At the same time that the results of the toxicological analysis from 34 Andean condors found poisoned in Argentina some weeks ago was revealed – indicating carbofuran had been used, colleagues in Colombia found two more Andean condors dead – in a country where there are only 100 left in the wild (see photo).
Poison is the biggest threat to vultures worldwide – this was indeed the main conclusion of the Vulture Multi-species Action Plan, co-developed by the VCF, and that has been recently endorsed by the Convention for Migratory Species (CMS). A significant part of this global action plan for vultures focus on the actions needed to fight this threat.
In Europe the VCF is actively pursuing different lines of work to fight this threat, among which a brand new project ion the Balkans, funded by the MAVA foundation, where we will be working and funding local partners in 5 counties (Croatia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Greece) to try to eradicate this illegal and highly damaging practice.
In south America, our colleagues from the Fundación Bioandina Argentina, that are leading the Andean Condor Conservation Program of Argentina are also implementing similar actions, as they have identified that the cases of poisoning have grown exponentially. In the last 13 months, at least 66 condors were killed by poison in several provinces of the country.
Carbofuran is banned in Europe, but in Argentina it is still being widely used. In this latest case, two suspects - local livestock farmers - have been detained, and they may incur fines and a prison sentence if found guilty.
Fundacion Bioandina is fighting this threat at several levels in Argentina: they have started a line of research on the illegal use of toxic baits and their impact on wildlife conservation and human health; they are also running educational campaigns and surveys to livestock farmers to know if they use poison, what poison they use and why they apply it. They have been sending information on all poison cases to the national authorities and to the courts, while also working to mitigate the conflict between predators and domestic livestock - often at the root of poison incidents. Further, they are leading a campaign so that authorities adopt new legislation that makes easier to track the selling and usage of agrochemicals. At the moment tons of these products circulate in Argentina and nobody knows where they are – please sign a petition here http://chn.ge/2nfmkYM
The Bioandina Argentina Foundation has been working for more than 26 years for the protection of the Andean Condor, including the releasing of captive-bred Andean condors, and the rescuing and rehabilitationof injured birds – they have so far treated 260 condors from all over Argentina. Most of these birds have been rehabilitated and reintroduced into their natural environment.