The Vulture MsAP - a global conservation plan to protect 15 species of wold world vultures, that was endorsed by the Convention for Migratory Species (CMS) last October, was once again the focus of substantial discussion, analysis and commitments in the Flyway Summit, a meeting convened by Birdlife International in Abu Dhabi this week, to advance several aspects of bird conservation across the world.
Yesterday, donors, governmental representatives, protected areas managers and vulture experts got together to enhance alliances and networks around the Vulture MsAP and continue to discuss the implementation of this important plan.
Participants in the all-day symposium heard again about the plight of vultures in Africa and Asia (where we are talking about an imminent extinction crisis), but also about successful approaches to vulture conservation in Europe, many of them championed by the VCF, where 3 of the 4 species have increasing populations and are recolonizing former distribution ranges.
A number of priority flagship projects coming from the vulture MsAP were also presented. Further, some landscape-scale approaches relevant to threat reduction for vulture conservation have been discussed, notably the concept of “vulture safe zones” or “priority areas for vulture conservation”.
Participants endorsed once again the Vulture MsAP and agreed that it is necessary to act now to continue to implement the measures to improve the situation for vultures that have been identified within the comprehensive global plan. Participants also emphasised the need for coordination and for strategic alliances among conservationists but also with other stakeholders (e.g. health, agriculture and tourism), and that we should promote further research on the quantification of the economic values of vultures, and scientific evidence for their ecosystem service values.
Poisoning continues to be the main threat to vultures worldwide, and rapid response mechanisms should be established in priority areas. NSAIDs, particularly diclofenac, remain a concern in Asia and Europe, and safety testing for new NSAIDs is a must.
Being one of the co-coordinators of the Vulture MsAP, the VCF is at the forefront of these discussions and will continue pushing forward many of these global issues for vulture conservation.