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Balkan Population of Egyptian Vulture Stabilises


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The population of Egyptian Vulture in the Balkans has stabilised following an EU-funded project conducted during the last few years.

The stabilisation of the population has been documented in a paper, published recently in Animal Conservation, that detailed the efforts of an international collaboration of partners working across Europe to the Middle East and Africa.

In eastern Europe, the population of Egyptian Vulture stood at more than 600 pairs in the 1980s but plummeted rapidly. Since 2010, conservationists in the Balkans have tried to save the Balkan breeding population, but the population continued to decrease to roughly 50 pairs in 2018.

However, an ambitious project funded by the EU expanded the work across the flyway, involving 22 organisations across three continents. Led by conservationists from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, and partners including the RSPB, the project team reduced the risk of poisoning, electrocution, and direct persecution in 14 countries along the flyway, as well as reinforcing the breeding population in the Balkans by releasing captive-bred individuals donated by a network of European Zoos.

Thanks to this huge collaborative effort, the downwards trajectory has now been halted and the Egyptian Vulture population on the Balkans has stabilised at around 50 breeding pairs.

Steffen Oppel, RSPB Senior Conservation Scientist, said: “This project is a fantastic example of international collaboration and evidence-based conservation. Ten years ago we did not know what the problem was, but the EU helped us to invest in research and we followed the evidence, and worked with local partners along the flyway to reduce threats at large scale. 

“I am immensely proud of what this team has achieved – but the daunting prospect is that we need to keep up this effort because Egyptian Vulture is by no means secure.”



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