Category Archives: Vultures

New Interview with Emilian Stoynov about the Eurasian Griffon Vulture in Bulgaria


The aclimatization aviary in Kresna Gorge.
© Hristo Peshev

Vultures are an important indicator of a healthy ecosystem. In Europe, vultures today are endangered or extinct in most countries. A lot of conservation work is going on to, protect, restore and increase populations.

In this new interview, Emilian Stoynov from the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna (FWFF) talks about the situation of Griffon Vultures in Bulgaria, what threats they face and what is done for their conservation.
Part of the conservation work is a reintroduction program which is explained in detail in the interview.

To read the interview, click here:

Interview with Emilian Stoynov about the Eurasian Griffon Vulture in Bulgaria

Please consider making a donation to the FWFF to support their conservation work. More information about their work and how you can support FWFF can be found here:
Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna (FWFF)

Bulgaria: Five more Griffon Vultures were tagged with GPS/GSM transmitters and are now ready for release into the wild

The Griffon Vulture is a rare or extinct raptor species across most of Europe. Only in Spain are the numbers high and currently not threatened.
In other countries, a lot of effort is made by dedicated conservationists to help to increase the population.

In Bulgaria a reintroduction effort is underway that will help to increase and secure the population in Bulgaria and on the Balkan.

In order to learn more about the birds and their survival and movements, 5 more Griffon Vultures where fitted with GPS/GSM transmitters by the team from Green Balkans. 4 of the birds are from the 4 different release sites of the reintroduction program.

For more information, see the Green Balkan’s website:
Five more Griffon Vulture were tagged with GPS/GSM transmitters and are now ready for release into the wild

More about vulture conservation in Bulgaria:

Soon there will also be a new interview about the Griffon Vulture in Bulgaria.

Cinereous Vulture reintroduction in the Pyrenees: 3 pairs have started to breed in 2011

In 2010, the reintroduced Cinereous Vultures in the Pyrenees successfully raised their first chick.

This year it seems that the project could make another big step forward as 3 pairs have already laid an egg. The eggs were laid on 22nd, 25th of February and on the 1st of March.
This project is very important for connecting the large Spanish population with the much smaller (and reintroduced) population in France and hopefully in the long term also with the population on the Balkan.

More information:
Three pairs of Black Vulture begin nesting in the Pyrenees

There are now 4 pairs incubating. More information (in Spanish):
Aumenta a 4 las parejas de buitre negro incubando en Boumort

The reintroduction of the Cinereous Vulture in the Pyrenees may also have a positive effect on the Spanish Imperial Eagle:
The reintroduction project could be helping the expansion of the Spanish Imperial Eagle towards NE Spain.

2010 Egyptian Vultures project Report for Turkey published

The 2010 Egyptian Vultures project Report has been published and can be downloaded as a PDF here:

It is written in English and has lot’s of information about a study that took place between March 14 and August 26 in 2010 in a 400 square kilometre area around the city of Beypazarı.

High mortality through electrocution for migrating Egyptian Vultures in Africa

The Egyptian Vulture is a rare and endangered raptor species in Europe. Beside the problems in the breeding areas like illegal poisoning, the birds also face human made threats during their migration and wintering in Africa.
A joint expedition between BSPB (Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds) and the Sudanese Wildlife Society found 17 electrocuted Egyptian Vulture along the Red Sea coast in North-Eastern Sudan.
This is a serious threat for a raptor that is already under pressure in it’s breeding areas.
Other raptors killed were Lappet-faced Vultures, Steppe Eagles and Bonelli’s Eagle.

More details can be found here:

A death trap for Egyptian Vultures in Africa

Cinereous Vulture reintroduction in the Pyrenees: First chick about to leave nest in the wild

The reintroduction program for the Cinereous Vulture in the Pyrenees has reached an important milestone. The first chick that hatched in the wild since the reintroduction program began is about the to leave the nest.
The juvenile vulture is a female and called “Gala”. With about 110 days old, the young bird will leave the nest very soon. It was fitted with a satellite transmitter to learn more about it’s movements. This also would help in the case of the bird dying, for example from poisoning or shooting. Hopefully this will not happen and the young female can breed herself in a few years.

This project is very important for the conservation of Europe’s largest raptors.

For more, including a video, see here:
Gala se prepara para el abandono del nido

Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) sent 31 Griffon Vultures from Majorca to Bulgaria

Here is the text of a press release by the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) about the sending of 31 Griffon Vultures from Majorca to Bulgaria.

VCF Griffon Vulture collection

Jovan Andevski, BVAP project coordinator of the VCF and Ivelin Ivano, conservation director of the Bulgarian NGO Green Balkans collect two griffon vultures for the transport

VCF Griffon Vulture boxes

31 griffon vultures wait for their transport

(Campanet, 14th of June) Today, after weeks of organisation and preparation, the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) sent 31 griffon vultures from Majorca to Bulgaria. The official departure event was held at 10 a.m. in Mallorca at the Mediterranean Wildlife Conservation Centre, headquarter of the VCF. The vultures are transported by the partner organization from Bulgaria
“Green Balkans” in a Mercedes Sprinter (minibus) with a trailer. The route begins by boat from Palma de Mallorca to Barcelona, will continue by land transiting France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and from Serbia arriving to Bulgaria. The journey will take at least two days and two nights, passing around 3000 km of distance! The official arrival event in Bulgaria will take place in Stara Zagora at the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Breeding Centre – Stara Zagora (run by Green Balkans) on 17/06/2010 at 11 a.m. These birds are destined for release at four designated areas in Bulgaria comprise of the national park Central Balkan, nature reserves Vrachanski Balkan, Blue Rocks and Kotlenska Stara Planina Mountain.

The 31 vultures that are being provided by the VCF have come from the recovery centres of Extremadura, Castilla y León and the Zoo from Jerez due to the good collaboration between VCF and the local ministries of the Spanish autonomous communities.

This is the second shipment of vultures to Bulgaria after the first one of 18 individuals sent in March 2009. The vultures transported with the first transport are placed in the adaptation aviaries at sites where they adapt to local conditions before being released. The same destiny is awaiting the “new” vultures after there arrival in Bulgaria. The project foresees that within the next 5 years, about 150-200 griffon vultures will be released in Bulgaria.

This activity is within the framework of the LIFE+ project “Recovery of the Populations of Large European Vultures in Bulgaria”.

For successful implementation the project foresees activities that will reduce any risks or threats to their lives such as the major threat to this species, the illegal use of poison in the nature. Other activities include providing food on the artificial feeding sites, monitoring of the existing population and of the reintroduced one as well as protecting their habitat.

All this project activities are part of the long-term strategy of the Balkan Vulture Action Plan (BVAP) initiated in 2002 by the VCF. BVAP includes 8 countries and more then 30 local NGOs working on the implementation of the vulture conservation activities.

The main goal of the project is to restore the population of the griffon vultures in the Balkan range whose connectedness will link that population with colonies in Serbia and others in Western Europe. This way, we will create an undisturbed link between Europe, Africa and Asia.

The project is only possible due to the collaboration of the many local and international organisations involved as Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF), Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU). Local project partners and implementations of the project are: FWFF-Bulgaria, Green Balkans-Bulgaria, BPPB and BEPF.

For further information please check the

Download the press release as a PDF:
140610_VCF PressRelease_GriffonVulture Transport.pdf

Many thanks to Juan José Sánchez Artés for sending me the press release.

New interview with Fulvio Genero about vultures in Italy


Fulvio Genero

Fulvio Genero

A new interview is available, this time with Fulvio Genero about vultures in Italy.
Interview with Fulvio Genero about vultures in Italy


Fulvio talks about the current situation of Vultures in Italy, the historical development, reintroduction programs, threats to vultures. He also gives an outlook on the future of those great birds in Italy.

Fulvio has also written an article in the wonderful new book about European vultures:
New vulture book: Vultures, feeding stations and sanitary legislation: a conflict and its consequences from the perspective of conservation biology

SEO/Birdlife Spain publishes results from census of Golden Eagles, Egyptian Vultures, Osprey, Griffon Vultures and Peregrine Falcons

SEO/Birdlife Spain has recently published the results from census of Golden Eagles, Egyptian Vultures, Osprey, Griffon Vultures and Peregrine Falcons in Spain in 2008.
To gather all those date, a huge effort by many people was needed. SEO publishes all the results in free e-books (in PDF format).
Click on the cover of each PDF to download it.

Golden Eagle
Egyptian Vulture
Griffon Vulture
Peregrine Falcon

The reports are very detailed, for example the one on the Golden Eagle has 189 pages.

Other results from earlier censuses can be found here (incl. Bonelli’s Eagle, Cinereous Vulture, several harrier species, Eleonora’s Falcon and many other birds):

The new results are very interesting. For example, for the Golden Eagle, the census found 1,553 definite pairs and 216 likely pairs which gives a Spanish population of 1,769 pairs. This makes Spain very important for the conservation of the Golden Eagle in Europe.

Cinereous Vulture reintroduction in the Pyrenees: First chick hatched

As GREFA writes, the reintroduction program for the Cinereous Vulture in the Pyrenees is going very well. This April, the first chick hatched. This is the first chick in the Pyrenees for more than 100 years.
The goal of this reintroduction project is to create a bridge between the colonies in Spain (mostly in southern and western Spain) and the reintroduced population in France and other European populations.

In 2010, SEO/Birdlife Spain has elected the Cinereous Vulture as the Bird of the Year 2010 in Spain.

At the moment, the Pyrenees in Catalonia are the only region in Europe where all four European raptor species breed close to each other.
The first chick hatching in the Pyrenees is great news for vulture conservation in Europe and another great milestone in the success story of the conservation the Cinereous Vulture, Europe’s largest raptor.

More information (in Spanish) incl. a video that shows the nest with the chick can be found here:

Nace un Buitre Negro en Boumort