In a concerted effort to bolster the population of endangered Griffon vultures, environmental conservationists in Cyprus undertook a significant initiative by releasing these majestic birds into the wild on Friday. This endeavor marks the latest attempt to counter the declining numbers of Griffon vultures, a species facing the threat of extinction.
Cyprus, an island situated in the eastern Mediterranean, now hosts one of the lowest Griffon vulture populations in Europe, a stark contrast to its once-thriving numbers. Factors such as inadvertent poisoning and changes in agricultural practices have left these impressive scavengers struggling to find sustenance.
Conservationists from Cyprus, in collaboration with counterparts from Spain, orchestrated the release of 14 Griffon vultures into the hills near the northern city of Limassol. With this release, the total count of Griffon vultures in Cyprus now stands at approximately 29 individuals.
Last year, four organizations embarked on a similar mission, introducing 15 Griffon vultures, also known as Eurasian black vultures, into the wild. Unfortunately, only 11 of them survived.
Environmental conservationists in Cyprus have made multiple endeavors to boost Griffon vulture populations, including the importation of vultures from the island of Crete.
These vultures serve a crucial ecological role in waste disposal, primarily by feeding on the carcasses of deceased animals. Their presence effectively curbs the spread of diseases that might otherwise arise from decaying remains.
However, these invaluable creatures face the peril of deliberate poisoning, often carried out by farmers seeking to protect their livestock from predatory threats. Notably, the use of toxic baits is illegal in Cyprus, but instances of its use persist.
To monitor the movements of these released birds and safeguard their well-being, some of them have been equipped with satellite tracking devices.