Egyptian Vultures found dead by poison in Greece
Two Endangered Egyptian Vultures Neophron percnopterus have been found dead in Greece, as reported by the Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS; BirdLife in Greece). The deaths were caused by poisoned baits illegally placed to hunt foxes or wolves. The birds were located close to Amfipoli in Northern Greece, where they arrived after returning from their annual winter migration to Africa. Researchers detected them by satellite thanks to a LIFE project delivered to protect endangered species.
Illegal use of poisoned baits has highly increased during the last years in rural areas of Greece and has led several raptor species to extinction. Local public authorities, however, have not still found a practical solution to the problem, despite the efforts of environmental organisations to assess and made proposals. They have asked without success for stronger protection and guarding measures, and have also urged the government to appoint a laboratory for toxicological analyses to confirm the cause of death of the animals.
According to Thanos Kastritis, HOS Conservation Manager, “Each loss brings the Egyptian vulture closer to extinction in Greece”, and the indifference shown by society and authorities “throws into the rubbish all the money invested by the European Union and other entities in biodiversity conservation”. Around twenty pairs of vultures have been lost up to now in Greece because of poisoned baits.