Europe and Central Asia
31 Mar 2015

Kiko and Kuki, bird’s best friends, need your help!

Kiko and Kuki, anti-poison dog teams © V. Saravia
By BirdLife Europe

Everyone knows that dogs are man’s best friend, but in Greece, a couple of very special dogs are helping birds and wildlife too. Kiko and Kuki are trained to find poison baits and poisoned carcasses before animals feed on them, saving their lives.

In the Thrace region of northeastern Greece, jackals, wolves and bears roam the hillsides, birds of prey circle above mountains, and vultures glide over vast terrains cleaning the land of dead carcasses. But some people view such wildlife as a threat to livestock and are using illegal poisoned baits and carcasses to kill, having a devastating impact. Horrific incidents, such as the poisoning at Nestos in 2012, killed 4 Golden Eagles and almost 40 Griffon Vultures – this is nearly 40% of the Greek Griffon population in one blow.

There is the tragic story of Lazarus, the Egyptian Vulture (an endangered species), carefully nursed back to health after eating a poisoned carcass. Before release in 2012, he was fitted with a satellite transmitter. We were able to see him leave Greece, spend the winter in Africa, and head back home in 2013. His long journey took him over Egypt, Israel, war-torn Syria and Turkey, but two days after crossing the Greek border, only 200 km from home, he ate some poisoned bait and died. There are only 10 breeding pairs of Egyptian Vultures left in Greece. At this rate, it won’t be long before these birds are a thing of the past.

But now with the help of Kiko and Kuki, two highly-trained anti-poison dogs, we can stop this unnecessary tragedy. So far, these dogs and their handlers have been on 100 patrols covering hundreds of km’s in Greece’s Dadia and Meteora National Parks. In the last year, they have found 30 carcasses of wildlife killed with poison, and over 10 kg of poisoned baits which were removed before killing other unsuspecting creatures.

Kiko and Kuki are finding the poison before it causes a slow and painful death to wildlife and helping to identify areas where education and public awareness can teach people that this wildlife crime is unnecessary because there are other ways to protect livestock.

But in order to continue their important work, and help save the endangered Egyptian Vulture from extinction, Kiko and Kuki need your help. Please support the Hellenic Ornithological Society (Greek BirdLife partner) and the Neophron Project, and join our FundRazr to help pay for their food and vet’s bills, which amount to several thousand Euros each year.

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A €30/£20 donation would feed Kiko and Kuki for up to a week

A €40/£30 donation would help pay for their vet bills

A €60/£50 donation would support regular patrols to find and remove poisoned bait


Every single dollar counts, please donate!


BIG THANKS to Birdwing for setting up the FundRazr campaign. All money raised so far has been a result of their efforts.


Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.