Three endangered vultures found dead in Cyprus
Seven Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) part of a Proejct GYPAS between Greece and Cyprus have died, BirdLife Cyprus said in a statement on Monday.
Three of the birds that had been released in Cyprus were found dead in the Paramli/Sterakovou area in the Limassol district, the statement said.
Preliminary examinations, BirdLife said, showed that the seven vultures had died due to poisoning.
“The first possibility is death by primary poisoning, meaning the birds may have eaten poisoned bait, which is unlikely. The second possibility is death by secondary poisoning, meaning the birds have eaten an animal who had eaten something with poison (e.g. an animal who ate rodenticide). The third possibility is that the birds have eaten an animal which had been treated with non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are extremely toxic for all vultures and are the main cause of the serious population decline (by 99%) of three vulture species of the Gyps genus during the 1990s in India and whose population have still not recovered,” the organisation said.
BirdLife Cyprus Executive Director stated that, “BirdLife Cyprus is calling upon the competent authorities, the Game and Fauna Service and the Veterinary Services to address these incidents as very urgent and extremely important and to carry out all necessary analyses and tests in order to establish the cause of death. If this continues then the entire population of Griffon Vulture in Cyprus will collapse. Establishing the cause of death is the only way to find a way to deal with this serious problem.”
There is a very real danger that all efforts made as part of the GYPAS project for the strengthening of the Griffon vulture population in Cyprus under the ‘Cross Border Cooperation Programme Greece-Cyprus 2007-2013’, with participation of the Game and Fauna Service, BirdLife Cyprus and Department of Forests in Cyprus, will end up in vain, the statement said.
“The matter is very urgent and needs to be treated as such by all key stakeholders,” BirdLife said.