The first Griffon vultures from Spain will soon arrive on the island to save the extremely diminished Cypriot population, conservation group BirdLife Cyprus said.
In total, about 25 griffon vultures will be brought to the island from Spain in the context of a four-year “LIFE with Vultures” project 2019-2023.
“There is an effort to tackle the main threats facing the Griffon vulture and prevent Cyprus’ most threatened bird of prey from going extinct,” said BirdLife Cyprus.
It is a joint project undertaken by BirdLife Cyprus, the Game and Fauna Service, Terra Cypria – The Cyprus Conservation Foundation and the Vulture Conservation Foundation,
Griffon vultures number about 18 to 20, of whom only 2 to 3 couples are successfully reproducing.
The target is for the Cypriot Griffon vulture population to number 45 at the end of the project.
At the same time, the project “includes actions against the use of poison baits, actions to counter collisions with overhead power lines, and to increase feeding opportunities for the provision of safe supplementary food to the vultures.”
Following their arrival, the Griffon vultures will remain in a specially designed acclimatisation cage of the Game and Fauna Service for 3 to 4 months before they are set free in Cypriot nature.
All birds will have transmitters to monitor their movements and intervene to rescue them if they are in danger.
The project has a €1,375,861 budget and is co-funded (60%) by the EU LIFE Programme.