Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus)

Common name in other languages:

Dutch Vale Grier; German Gansegeier; French Vautour Fauve; Spanish Buitre Leonado; Portuguese Grifo; Swedish Gasgam

Size: 95-110 cm

Weight: 6-11 kg

Wingspan: 240-280 cm

Life expectancy: up to 37 years in captivity

 

Features: The Griffon vulture is sand-coloured to dark brown, with a white head, neck and ruff. The primary- and tail feathers are dark brown to black. Young birds have a brown ruff and are darker in colour. The wings are long and wide and are resemble fingers.

 

Distribution: Following a decline in the 20th century by poisoning, hunting and decreasing of food supplies, in recent year the species has increased dramatically in some areas, particularly in Spain, the French Pyrenees and Portugal. In Europe, the breeding population is between 19.000 and 21.000 pairs, with around 17.500 pairs in Spain and approximately 600 in France.

 

Behaviour: The Griffon vulture feeds mainly on the softer parts of carcasses, such as the muscles and viscera. Because of it’s long neck, this species can reach far into the carcass without snagging. Griffon vultures are very social in comparison to other vulture species. They forage in groups and breed in colonies on steep cliffs.

 

Wed

15

Nov

2017

Census of roosting griffon vultures in the Balkans – 25th November 2017

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Wed

18

Oct

2017

Great perspectives for vultures in France – 23ème Rencontre du Groupe Vautours

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Sat

07

Oct

2017

Griffon vultures shot in Armenia – parts of the Caucasus and the Middle East continues to be a sink for vultures and other soaring birds

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Thu

05

Oct

2017

LIFE killed by poison in Sardinia

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Tue

26

Sep

2017

An update on griffon vultures in Croatia – 100+ breeding pairs

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Wed

13

Sep

2017

All together for vultures in Extremadura (Spain)

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Sat

09

Sep

2017

360 griffons at Lago di Cornino – a new record for Italy

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Mon

04

Sep

2017

Almost 2500 griffon vultures counted summering in the western Alps in 2017 – an increase of 40% on previous years

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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 1 - Griffon vulture – did you know…?

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Fri

04

Aug

2017

Griffon breeding colony in Portugal significantly affected by major fire

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Thu

03

Aug

2017

Spanish court confirms that an electricity utility should pay a fine of 26,000€ for the electrocution of vultures

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Thu

27

Jul

2017

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

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Mon

24

Jul

2017

Griffon vultures tagged in Lago di Cornino (Italy) – follow their movements in our home page

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Sun

16

Jul

2017

Newsletter of the LIFE Re Vultures project is out!

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Sat

15

Jul

2017

The 2017 Alpine summering griffon vulture census is coming – 19th August

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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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Sun

02

Jul

2017

Have you ever seen a pig flying? And a griffon swimming?

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Sat

24

Jun

2017

Der Falke special edition on vultures now available to order

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Fri

23

Jun

2017

Griffon vultures are breeding again in Cyprus and recolonised area not used for years

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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

12

Jun

2017

What have Jana and Tempestosa, the two griffons tagged in Sardinia, been up to?

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Sat

08

Apr

2017

Poisoning incident in Kresna Gorge (Bulgaria) gets even bigger – a total of 18 griffon vultures now confirmed dead

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Thu

30

Mar

2017

Massive poisoning incident(s) in Kresna George, Bulgaria, deals a blow to the recovering Balkan griffon vulture population

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Wed

29

Mar

2017

Griffons in peril in Cyprus – only 21 birds left and no breeding in the last two years

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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

16

Mar

2017

25 griffon Vultures from Extremadura (Spain) on the way to Sardinia (Italy)

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Sun

12

Mar

2017

Jana and Tempestosa: Two griffon vultures released in Sardinia within LIFE Grifone

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Tue

28

Feb

2017

Griffon vultures and livestock activities – the French national action plan to decrease potential problems is now available for public consultation

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Wed

15

Feb

2017

Two more griffons electrocuted in Andalusia

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Wed

11

Jan

2017

The number of griffon vultures breeding and roosting in Eastern Rhodopes continues to increase

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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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Sun

18

Dec

2016

Griffon tagged and released in Sardinia under the Life Under the project Griffon Wings project

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Tue

22

Nov

2016

The incredible story of the griffon trapped inside a horse carcass

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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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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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Tue

28

Jun

2016

Griffons in northern Denmark – including a Spanish one!

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Wed

15

Jun

2016

Griffon born in captivity in Holland and released in Bulgaria seen in… Poland!

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Tue

07

Jun

2016

Carbofuran named as the poison killer of griffon vultures in Cyprus

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Sat

04

Jun

2016

The griffon vulture that likes the Netherlands

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Sun

06

Mar

2016

Vultures killed – probably poisoned – in Cyprus. This incident is a blow to the efforts to recover the endangered island population of griffon vultures

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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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Sat

30

Jan

2016

A rare case of cooperation in the Middle-East: Griffon vulture returned from Lebanon to Israel

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Tue

12

Jan

2016

First results of the census of summering griffons in the Alps - at least 1700 birds present

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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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Sat

19

Dec

2015

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

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Fri

18

Dec

2015

Another massive poisoning of vultures in Africa – this time in Senegal, where there were no previous reports of widespread poisoning

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Thu

12

Nov

2015

Griffon folklore – where did 2 young griffons born in captivity and released in the eastern Alps end up?

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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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Mon

26

Oct

2015

Genetics explain why vultures are such good scavengers: new paper

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Fri

23

Oct

2015

One man´s passion for Spanish griffons - and the diclofenac threat pending over them - video

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Thu

24

Sep

2015

The story of IFP – or how vulture conservation is really a transnational affair

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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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Sun

13

Sep

2015

One more griffon vulture shot in Lebanon – the Middle East continues to be a sink for vultures and other soaring birds

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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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Sat

22

Aug

2015

The first baby Griffon Vulture born in the Balkan Mountains for almost a century baptized as Michel – a deserved celebration of one of VCF´s mentors

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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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Sat

08

Aug

2015

Call for volunteers for the 2015 Alpine summering griffon vulture census – 22 August 2015

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Fri

31

Jul

2015

Griffon with tongue protruding from the neck observed in France

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Sun

19

Jul

2015

Poison and lead are the main cause of vulture deaths in the French Pyrenees

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Tue

23

Jun

2015

Six griffon vultures released back to nature in Croatia

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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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Wed

10

Jun

2015

Vultures INDEED return! First successful breeding of griffon vulture in the Central Balkan Mountains for more than 70 years!

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Thu

28

May

2015

The status of the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) in Italy in 2014: population further increased to 135 breeding pairs

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Sun

03

May

2015

Not quite the royal baby, but cute nonetheless - Baby griffon born in Israel from Cretan vultures

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Wed

22

Apr

2015

Two permanently wounded griffons travel from Portugal to France for captive breeding

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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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Tue

10

Mar

2015

Prominent Serbian vulture researcher launches today book about griffon vultures

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Mon

09

Mar

2015

Another mass poisoning of vultures in Asia – at least 20 Himalayan griffon vultures dead in India

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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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Wed

18

Feb

2015

GYPAS project: 12 more griffon vultures released last week to restock the endangered population in Cyprus

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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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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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Wed

14

Jan

2015

Annual simultaneous survey of griffon vultures in Cyprus: 15 birds counted

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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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Tue

09

Dec

2014

Have you ever seen a pig flying? Or a griffon with a bell?

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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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Fri

28

Nov

2014

34 griffon vultures are on their way from Extremadura (Spain) to Bulgaria, to be released in the Stara Planina Mountains

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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.

Sat

11

Oct

2014

New paper published with first reported case of a griffon vulture being killed by a veterinary drug in Spain

Photo VCF
Photo VCF
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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

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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