Cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus)

Common name in other languages:

Dutch: Monniksgier; German: Mönchsgeier; French: Vautour Moine; Spanish: Buitre Negro; Portuguese: Abutre Preto; Swedish: Gragam

Size: 98-110 cm

Weight: 7,1-12,5 kg

Wingspan: 250-295 cm

Life expectancy: up to 40 years in captivity

 

Features: The cinereous vulture is one of the heaviest and largest raptors in the world. It is a dark brown and broad-winged species with a slightly wedge-shaped tail. The bald head and neck are a bluish gray, with a fluffy collar which is lighter in older birds. In many countries, this bird is called ‘monk vulture’, because of it’s upright standing neck feathers that resemble the hood of a monk.

 

Distribution: In the last two hundred years, the cinereous vulture greatly decreased in numbers in most distribution areas, especially by poisoning, habitat destruction and reduction of food supply. In many European countries (Portugal, France, Italy, Austria, Poland, Slovakia and Romania), the species became extinct. Thanks to strong efforts in many different projects (e.g. the protection of breeding sites, taking actions against poisoning, restoration programs), the numbers are now slowly increasing, especially in Spain, where the population is now of more than 2,000 pairs. Furthermore, in France a successful reintroduction project has resulted in the re-establishment of the species (25+ pairs), Greece (around 28 breeding pairs in the only remianing colony in the Balkans). The total European breeding population (including Turkey and Russia) is approximately 1800 pairs.

 

Behaviour: The cinereous vulture nests in trees and sometimes on cliffs. Like most other vultures, cinereous vultures are monogamous. Couples build huge nests that are reused each year. Eggs hatch in 50-55 days. Cinereous vultures have a specialized type of hemoglobin in their blood, allowing them to effectively absorb oxygen even at great heights. On thermal winds they ‘float’ to these great heights in search of carcasses.

Sat

30

Sep

2017

Eight more black vultures from Andalusia (Spain) transferred for the reintroduction project in France

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Wed

13

Sep

2017

All together for vultures in Extremadura (Spain)

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Sun

10

Sep

2017

Interesting observation of a black vulture at the Romanian Black Sea coast

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Tue

05

Sep

2017

Black vulture seen in Lisbon

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Sat

02

Sep

2017

International Vulture Day is today – Post 6 – vet diclofenac - did you know…?

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Sat

02

Sep

2017

International Vulture Day is today – Post 5 – European vultures - did you know…?

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Sat

02

Sep

2017

International Vulture Day is today – Post 4 – European black vulture – did you know…?

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Thu

27

Jul

2017

A survey of attitudes towards vulture conservation in the Bulgarian Rodopi regions

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Tue

18

Jul

2017

Black vulture breeds successfully for the third year in a row in Alentejo (Portugal)

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Sun

16

Jul

2017

Newsletter of the LIFE Re Vultures project is out!

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Wed

12

Jul

2017

News from the LIFE Re vultures – more griffon vultures from the Rodopes-Dadia area (Bulgaria/Greece) tracked

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Mon

03

Jul

2017

The adventures of a cinereous vulture in Jordan

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Mon

26

Jun

2017

Black vulture shows up in the eastern Alps

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Sat

24

Jun

2017

Der Falke special edition on vultures now available to order

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Thu

22

Jun

2017

Barcelona Zoo sent 3 captive-bred griffons for the vulture reintroduction project in Bulgaria

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Mon

01

May

2017

Black vulture Bernardus is back in France!

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Tue

18

Apr

2017

14 pairs of black vulture – in Boumort (Spanish Pyrenees) – 8 are still breeding

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Mon

17

Apr

2017

2016 Report on the black vulture captive breeding network

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Thu

06

Apr

2017

Black vulture Bernardus is on the move again!

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Tue

04

Apr

2017

A poacher kills the last black vulture in Alinyà, Spain

Photos of Trasgu before (up) and after (down) the incident © Boumort-Alinyà Working Team
Photos of Trasgu before (up) and after (down) the incident © Boumort-Alinyà Working Team
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Sun

19

Mar

2017

LIFE RE-Vultures - news from the Rhodopes at the project annual meeting

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Thu

02

Mar

2017

Frustration – and then hope – with the only black vulture pair in Douro International

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Wed

01

Mar

2017

Bernardus has overwintered in Toledo (Spain). Where will she go in Spring?

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Sat

25

Feb

2017

Three black vultures to be released tomorrow in the Gorges du Verdon (France)

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Wed

18

Jan

2017

News from LIFE RUPIS: Supplementary feeding points ready to receive the Egyptian vultures coming from Africa. And they are helping the local black vultures too!

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Fri

06

Jan

2017

News from the LIFE Re vultures – griffon and black vultures from the Rodopes-Dadia area (Bulgaria/Greece) tracked

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Wed

14

Dec

2016

First bearded vulture in Israel for more than 10 years – and a bounty of black vultures too!

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Tue

13

Dec

2016

The Junta de Andalusia handed over to the VCF 7 Black Vultures for the reintroduction project in France

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Fri

04

Nov

2016

Vultures galore at the European Vulture Multi-species Action Plan Workshop held in Extremadura – and some great conclusions too!

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Tue

01

Nov

2016

Bernardus goes south again

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Fri

21

Oct

2016

Key vulture workshop to be held next week in Monfrague (Spain) - to develop the European Vulture Multi-species Action Plan

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Sun

12

Jun

2016

Abricot the great voyager

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Thu

28

Apr

2016

Bernardus the black vulture decided to visit our… Egyptian vulture project site in Portugal-Spain!

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Wed

27

Apr

2016

Breeding black vultures in captivity for conservation - 2015 report

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Sun

24

Apr

2016

Captive-bred black vulture "Bernardus" released in Verdon is now in Portugal

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Sat

23

Apr

2016

Working high above the Rhine towards international species action plans

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Thu

21

Apr

2016

The VCF visited Bulgaria

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Fri

01

Apr

2016

The black vulture in France in 2015 – summary

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Wed

30

Mar

2016

Drones and vultures – a curse or a blessing?

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Tue

23

Feb

2016

New paper on a case study on black vultures and windfarms: High mortality and a novel tool for EIAs and SEAs on new plans

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Mon

22

Feb

2016

New project for the conservation of black and griffon vultures in the Rhodope mountains (Bulgaria-Greece) launched

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Mon

08

Feb

2016

Black vultures arrived well and safe in France

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Fri

05

Feb

2016

Seven more black vultures on the way to France

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Mon

01

Feb

2016

The Junta de Andalusia handed over today 3 Eurasian Black Vultures to the VCF for the reintroduction projects and the captivity-breeding programme

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Sun

31

Jan

2016

Two black vultures in China´s biggest city – and some reflections on China´s vultures

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Sun

24

Jan

2016

Vultures Back to LIFE – the dream goes on. New LIFE project for the reintroduction of the black vulture to Bulgaria starts!

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Sun

10

Jan

2016

Restoring vulture populations in the Balkans – from griffon vultures to black vultures…

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Wed

30

Dec

2015

The highlights of the VCF year

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Tue

29

Dec

2015

Bernardus the black vulture is in Doñana National Parc

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Sat

19

Dec

2015

The 16 species of Old World Vultures in a sensible evolutionary order - drawing by Katja Wolfram

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Mon

14

Dec

2015

More Spanish black vultures will soon be on the way to France

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Sat

12

Dec

2015

Interesting observations of black vultures in the Balkans

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Sat

28

Nov

2015

Black vulture Bernardus goes south in Spain

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Mon

16

Nov

2015

Captive-bred black vulture "Bernardus"  released in Verdon is now in Spain

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Sun

08

Nov

2015

Black vulture population continues to increase in Andalucía – 360 pairs in 2015

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Thu

05

Nov

2015

Iran bans veterinary diclofenac – in the meanwhile, the EU drags its feet and continues to threaten Europe’s vultures – sign the petition!

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Wed

04

Nov

2015

More black and griffon vultures die near the Avila waste treatment centre (Spain)

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Sat

31

Oct

2015

Black (cinereous) vulture seen in Macedonia – first observation in the last 10 years

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Mon

26

Oct

2015

Genetics explain why vultures are such good scavengers: new paper

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Wed

23

Sep

2015

The VCF was present in the meeting on Mediterranean Raptors held recently in Italy

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Sat

05

Sep

2015

Today it is the International Vulture Awareness Day, and VCF has a message - Ban killer drug diclofenac or Europe’s vultures may face extinction!

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Thu

03

Sep

2015

Spreading the word – vultures are beautiful, necessary and endangered! International Vulture Awareness Day, 5th September

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Wed

02

Sep

2015

Help spread awareness on vultures – share your vulture pictures with National Geographic!

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Sun

16

Aug

2015

New paper discusses supplementary feeding programs for European vultures, and makes recommendations for the management of vulture feeding sites

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Wed

12

Aug

2015

At least six black vultures found dead near waste treatment plant in central Spain

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Fri

17

Jul

2015

First black vulture chick hatched in the wild in southern Portugal for more than 40 years ringed and tagged

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Fri

26

Jun

2015

And it is born! Black vulture chick hatches in Southern Portugal, the first such occurrence for more than 40 years in the region

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Sun

14

Jun

2015

The problem of poisoning in the Balkans and its impact on vulture conservation debated at a workshop

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Sun

10

May

2015

The silent killer strikes again – this time in Portugal and with a big conservation impact

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Mon

13

Apr

2015

Eurasian black vultures from Spain arrived well in Verdon & Baronnies (France) and are already in the acclimatisation aviaries

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Sat

11

Apr

2015

Vulture conservation in action! VCF is transporting this weekend black vultures from Spain to France

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Tue

07

Apr

2015

Eurasian black vultures nesting again in southern Portugal after an absence of 40 years

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Sat

14

Mar

2015

The silent killer strikes again – this time in Israel. Four griffon and two black vultures found poisoned in a rare case in the country

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Thu

05

Mar

2015

Italian experts and conservation managers discussed the pros and cons of feeding stations for scavenger bird species

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Thu

05

Feb

2015

The VCF and prominent Spanish scientists alert to a new threat to Iberian vultures – the proposal  to eliminate all by-products of hunted wild ungulates

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Fri

30

Jan

2015

The Junta de Andalusia gives 13 Eurasian Black Vultures for the reintroduction projects and the captivity-breeding programme (EEP)

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Tue

27

Jan

2015

The silent killer strikes again – at least 5 cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus) and 3 griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) poisoned in eastern Turkey

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Sat

20

Dec

2014

Record year for black vultures in Mallorca – 25 pairs and 16 young fledged. Species has recovered from almost extinction in the early 80s

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Thu

18

Dec

2014

EMA says veterinary diclofenac does pose a risk to European vultures, and suggests a number of solutions, including a ban of the drug – what next?

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Fri

05

Dec

2014

Scientific community suggest that weak environmental assessments of veterinary drugs undermine regulations and can cause a vulture ecological disaster

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Mon

01

Dec

2014

On vultures, rotting food, and nasty germs - new research on the bacteria living on vultures

(c) Bruno Berthemy - European Griffon and Black Vulture feeding on a carcass
(c) Bruno Berthemy - European Griffon and Black Vulture feeding on a carcass
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Tue

25

Nov

2014

Vultures need you – please write to your MEPs about veterinary diclofenac

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Wed

19

Nov

2014

New paper makes recommendations regarding the management of vulture feeding stations to benefit endangered species

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Tue

18

Nov

2014

Vultures (and other things!) galore at Turkey feeding station

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Sun

16

Nov

2014

One step closer to ban vet diclofenac in the EU – CMS makes landmark political decision on the matter and recommends its prohibition

The last few weeks saw vulture conservation score a few points against the biggest threats impacting on these scavengers worldwide – poison & veterinary drugs such as diclofenac.

First and foremost, a landmark political decision by the conference of the parties of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), held earlier this month in Quito (Equador), adopted a resolution on poisoning, including approval of a set of guidelines to tackle its causes. This resolution includes a ban on veterinary diclofenac, the phasing out of all lead ammunition, and action on rodenticides, insecticides and poison baits.  

On veterinary diclofenac, the guidelines now approved by the CMS recommend  to “Prohibit the use of veterinary diclofenac for the treatment of livestock and substitute with readily available safe alternatives, such as meloxicam, with mandatory safety-testing of all new veterinary pharmaceuticals for risks to scavenging birds before market authorization is granted”. However, this resolution is not legally binding, and countries can now decide on what to do: “it is for each Party to determine whether or how to implement the recommended actions, considering the extent and type of poisoning risk, whilst having regard to their international obligations and commitments, including those under the Convention".

You can see read the whole text of the resolution, as well as the guidelines, in the links below

Resolution adopted: 

http://www.cms.int/sites/default/files/document/cop11_crp31_dr_preventing_poisoning_migratory_birds.pdf
Guidelines adopted: 

http://www.cms.int/sites/default/files/document/COP11_Doc_23_1_2_Bird_Poisoning_Review_%26_Guidelines_E_0.pdf

This landmark political decision, achieved after months of lobbying by the VCF, BirdLife International, WCS, IUCN and many other organisations, now puts even more pressure on the EU – a signatory to the CMS – to take a final decision regarding veterinary diclofenac in Europe. A technical review of the situation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected in the next weeks, before the EU Commission takes a final decision.

This milestone comes a few weeks after the VCF and other conservation organisations submitted their reasoned opinions on veterinary diclofenac, following a public consultation by EMA. You can see the VCF contribution at http://www.4vultures.org/our-work/campaigning-to-ban-diclofenac-in-europe/


Also, in the end of September IUCN launched its own official position in relation to the increasing incidence and scale of the use of poison causing catastrophic declines in wildlife populations (including vultures) across Africa. You can download the document below.

 

The threat posed by diclofenac and other veterinary agents to avian scavengers has also been highlighted in a great short overview just published – you can also download it below.

All in all, politicians, government representatives, chemists, vulture researchers and conservation practitioners increasingly converge: veterinary diclofenac should be banned in the EU, as evidence of its impacts on vultures is irrefutable, while a safe alternative exists. The VCF now expects the EU Commission to take immediate action to implement these recommendations.




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Thu

23

Oct

2014

The Middle-East – a sink for vultures

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Fri

17

Oct

2014

NATURE reports on diclofenac, other veterinary drugs and vultures

http://www.nature.com/news/poisoned-vulture-could-herald-european-bird-crisis-1.16161

 

The recently published evidence about the death of a griffon vulture in Spain poisoned with fluxinin, an anti-inflammatory drug like diclofenac, has been hitting the headlines -  a timely reminder that in countries like Spain vultures do indeed eat carrion from medicated animals. This indeed suggests that we need to ban diclofenac as a precautionary measure to prevent an India-like crash in vulture populations in Europe.

Wed

08

Oct

2014

VCF submits reasoned opinion for the public consultation on veterinary diclofenac

The Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) has been leading a campaign together with other organisations, to ban veterinary diclofenac - given the risk to vultures, and the existence of an alternative, common sense suggest a precautionary approach should be taken. We had therefore asked the EU Commission tostart a procedure for the withdrawal of an authorized veterinary medicinal drug which affects Community interests,Under Article 35 of Veterinary Medicines Directive (2001/82/EC).

 

Recently, after months of wrestling, the Commission has mandated the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to come up with a technical opinion on the matter – a de factoacknowledgment that the facts raised by the VCF are relevant.One of EMA´s first steps has been to start a public consultation on the matter, directed at all professional bodies with information about scavenging birds, veterinary practices and the disposal of animal by-products.

The VCF has now submitted its paper on the matter, and tried to answer all the questions asked by the EMA. You can find the VCF´s paper below

The paper concludes that

  • Veterinary diclofenac is extremely toxic to vultures - half of the Griffon vultures will die after ingesting less than 1 mg

  • In India, it caused a 99% decline of vultures – the decline observed could be explained if only 1 in 1000 carcasses available to vultures contained a lethal concentration of diclofenac

  • Between 9,460 and 27,700 animals were treated with diclofenac in Spain during the first year of marketing of this drug alone

  • Tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, of carcasses of cattle, pork and horses are eaten by vultures alone in Spain

  • Many of those come from intensive explorations where veterinary control is not individualised

  • Animal carcasses treated with diclofenac can still kill vultures seven days after treatment (thus even more difficult to control)

  • Vultures are gregarious eaters, with tens, often hundreds of animals eating from a single carcass. One animal carcass treated with diclofenac would be enough to kill dozens of vultures

  • Day to day decision on what to send to vulture feeding stations remains in the hand of farm managers, not veterinarians

  • There is risk that treated cattle in extensive systems can die in the fields and are then almost all eaten by vultures within 1 hour of death

  • The practical measures suggested to minimise risk to diclofenac would be extremely expensive to set up, and would not be 100% safe 100% of the time, due to lack of enforcement, awareness, and veterinary oversight

  • According to the Spanish government own estimate, between 0,11 and 0,22% of all carcasses available to vultures could include diclofenac in 5 years – close to the 0,13%-0,75% that caused the 99% decline in India!

  • Legal availability of diclofenac in Europe causes a precedent and a conduit for a global boom in veterinary diclofenac worldwide

  • THERE IS AN ALTERATIVE DRUG WITH THE SAME THERAPEUTIC PROPERTIES AND PRICE (Meloxicam)

 

The VCF thus concludes that the risk to European vultures is unacceptable, and thus veterinary diclofenac should be banned in Europe

 

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Tue

07

Oct

2014

Veterinary diclofenac in Europe – we know what it did to India´s vultures & there is an alternative – so WHY?

This is indeed the question that tens of thousands of concerned citizens are asking. Unfortunately this veterinary drug filtered through the loop holes of national risk assessments and is now available in Italy and Spain. FATRO, the Italian company producing it, cynically uses the (inadequate) risk assessment as their legal argument, and has refused a voluntary withdrawal from the market. But evidence is so overwhelming – it caused a +95% decline in vulture species across the Indian subcontinent –, that we are all waiting for the EU to take action. A public consultation on the matter is now taking place – tomorrow the VCF will publish its reasoned opinion. In the meantime, please see below another article on the matter. http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/toxic-drug-could-threaten-alpine-vultures/40802526 

Sun

05

Oct

2014

Vultures in Europe – a future foretold?

Vultures - a future foretold. Frontiers in Ecology
Vultures a future foretold.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 298.8 KB
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Sat

20

Sep

2014

Significant breakthrough in the battle to ban veterinary diclofenac – Europe announces a Public Consultation.

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Wed

17

Sep

2014

New review article on the effects of lead on wildlife published. Lead poisoning is a significant threat to vultures – VCF is working on the matter

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Mon

08

Sep

2014

Good news on the International Vulture Awareness Day: Junta de Extremadura reveals that the black vulture population has increased

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Thu

04

Sep

2014

Two captive-bred black vultures will be released this weekend in France – when the world celebrates International Vulture Awareness Day

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Mon

01

Sep

2014

International Vulture Awareness Day is this weekend. Let´s all celebrate vultures!

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Mon

25

Aug

2014

Poison – the silent killer. Unseen, undetected and underreported, poison is nevertheless here, as some figures recently released in Spain show

Photo Inigo Fajardo/VCF
Photo Inigo Fajardo/VCF
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Tue

19

Aug

2014

Vet diclofenac in Europe- While the EU Commission drags its feet; the issue remains very much alive in the minds of Europeans.

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Wed

06

Aug

2014

Now online: information and guidelines about the european black vulture captive breeding network (EEP)

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Fri

18

Jul

2014

Vultures & diclofenac in today´s Tages Anzeiger (in German)

Diclofenac & Vultures in Today´s Tages Anzeiger
2014-0718TagesAnzeiger.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 729.4 KB
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