The third round of interviews to investigate wildlife poisoning in Albania

The third round of interviews to investigate wildlife poisoning in Albania

Wildlife poisoning in Albania  Since July 2019, after the consecutive lobbying and efforts of Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS) – the use of poison baits for the disposal of wild fauna species is incorporated as an amendment in the section of prohibited actions on the Law No. 46/2019, dated 8/7/2019 “On some amendments and changes of the Law No. 10 006, dated 23/10/2008 “On the protection of fauna” as amended”. The third round of interviews to investigate wildlife poisoning in Albania Following the first and the second rounds of interviewing local shepherds to investigate wildlife poisoning, the team at Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS) conducted a third field visit on 12-15 December 2020 to investigate cases of wildlife poisoning and bring to spotlight this issue within the scope of Balkan Anti-Poisoning project. Consecutive visits are strengthening and reinforcing the idea that the use of poisonous substances and poison baits to control predators is present in the south of...

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Pallas’s Leaf-warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus), winter 2020 brings a new bird species in Albania!

Pallas’s Leaf-warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus), winter 2020 brings a new bird species in Albania!

This is the newest bird species of Albania!!! Since 2006 this species has been added to the Phylloscopus genius due to the similar morphological feature with other Phylloscopus species. Similar to Regulus species, this warbler has a prominent yellow-crested line. In many places, he is called the Pallas’s Leaf-warbler in honor of German zoologist Peter Simon Pallas who was the first researcher to describe the species. Pallas’s Leaf-warbler is one of the smallest Eurasian warblers. It has relatively large head and short tail. It is greenish, yellow rump, and two yellow wing bars as shown in the pictures below. This bird nests in mountain forests from southern Siberia and east to northern Mongolia and northeast China. It is a genuine migratory wintering species in southern China, northern Thailand, Laos, northern Vietnam, etc as shown on the map. Despite its eastern distribution, the Pallas’s Leaf-warbler is regularly but rarely observed in Europe. Distribution range of Pallas's...

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Get ready for the International Waterbird Census 2020 in Albania

Get ready for the International Waterbird Census 2020 in Albania

What is the IWC? The International Waterbird Census (IWC) is a site-based counting scheme for monitoring waterbird numbers, organized since 1967 by Wetlands International, formerly the International Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Bureau (IWRB). The Census operates at a global level, and the former division into four separate continental-scale surveys was superseded in 2003 by a new strategy for global coordination. The species counted include all types of waterbirds regularly encountered at wetlands, including grebes, cormorants, pelicans, herons, egrets, storks, ibises, spoonbills, flamingos, ducks, geese, swans, cranes, rails, jacanas, shorebirds, gulls, terns, and skimmers. In addition raptors, kingfishers and other birds largely dependent on food resources in these habitats are often reported. IWC in Albania The International Waterbird Census (IWC) is not unknown to Albania – for more than 25 years IWC has been present in Albania through our representatives and the results...

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The rehabilitation of pelican’s nesting beds – DONE ✔

The rehabilitation of pelican’s nesting beds – DONE ✔

At the beginning of December 2019, during the monitoring visits in National Park Divjaka-Karavasta, like every year AOS team recognized that Dalmatian Pelican’s breeding season was approaching. Orange-red pouch, curly feathers and the presence of several specimens in the pelican island – warned us that the breeding season is approaching, where our actions for the rehabilitation of pelicans’ reproductive beds start! In continuity, a joint team of AOS and NAPA Fier, visited the Pelicans Island (PI) to observe the condition and the situation of PI – lagoon’s water level and nesting beds (for a reminder – you can read the previous article). Subsequently, during the last week of December and after consecutive visits, AOS team began the rehabilitation of the nesting beds of Dalmatian Pelican, the flagship species of the National Park and Divjaka Municipality. How the rehabilitation of pelican’s reproductive beds accomplished? The local supporters of our conservation actions at National...

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Ornithological Friday And Vultures In Drino Valley

Ornithological Friday And Vultures In Drino Valley

Last week (December 13-14), AOS organized “Ornithological Friday and Vultures in Drino Valley”, a two-day visit focused on the importance of the area for the Egyptian Vulture and other species of migratory birds (Lesser kestrel). During the two-day visit, following the tradition of "Ornithological Friday", AOS visited Eqrem Cabej University and Azim Zeneli high school (Eco Friend) to discuss with pupils and students on Egyptian Vulture’s ecological importance and its territories in Drino Valley. The objectives of this two-day were concentrated on raising awareness for endangered species, and fostering young people’s involvement in local level’s conservation actions/efforts for the EV population. In addition, the Gjirokastra Regional Administration of Protected Areas followed the presentation at Eqrem Cabej University with the presence of Mr. Gligor Dushi to disseminate their experience in monitoring Egyptian Vulture population and other migratory birds. "Ornithological Friday" could...

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Be aware Dalmatian Pelican breeding season is approaching!

Be aware Dalmatian Pelican breeding season is approaching!

Lagoon of Karavasta is a real treasure, in terms of species and habitats and it makes us proud of our Natural Heritage but at the same time obligate us with the responsibility to protect and conserve it. As the cold winter season is already in its infancy, Divjaka-Karavasta National Park is nevertheless hosting the first wintering birds and the early nesting Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), the flagship species of the Park and a species requiring conservation measures. For this purpose, AOS team conducted on December 7th, 2019 a visit in Divjaka-Karavasta National Park within the framework of the “Let's Make Divjaka Natural Again” project, supported by CEPF. A joint team of AOS and NAPA Fier, visited the Pelican Island to observe the current conditions of the pelicans breeding subcolonies and the potential needs for the rehabilitation of the so-called nesting beds,  structures composed of tree branches and twigs in order to provide the Pelicans with safe nesting grounds from...

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Extraordinary News: Tourism complex plan within the Divjaka Karavasta National Park rejected.

Extraordinary News: Tourism complex plan within the Divjaka Karavasta National Park rejected.

THE HARDER THE BATTLE, THE SWEETER THE VICTORY! The wetland complex of Divjaka Karavasta National Park (DKNP), located in the western part of Albania, is a designated: 📌Ramsar site  📌Important Bird Area (IBA), 📌Candidate Emerald Site,  📌Natura 2000 Pilot site. Its ecological integrity is such that it supplies resources and habitats to more than 250 species (15 of which are globally endangered). Among the most endangered species, it supports is the Dalmatian Pelican, recognized as a flagship species of the DKNP. With approximately 5% of the population of this species found in DKNP, its presence signifies the important ecological values of DKNP. The vigilance for the protection of DKNP has been a priority for biologists and environmental experts as well as national and international organizations. In March 2017, a threatening investment was proposed by the “Mabetex Group” to be implemented within the Divjaka Karavasta National Park (DKNP). The project consisted of the construction of a...

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Fly With the Egyptian Vulture!

Fly With the Egyptian Vulture!

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Egyptian Vulture (EV) is considered smaller than the other vultures in Europe which is nesting in the territories of our country. In the last 15 years, this species has lost 1/3 of its territory and only six pairs are nesting in the remaining territories. It is a typical long-distance migrant. The EV returns to our country's territories in the spring season (March-April) and leaves its nesting territories in the fall (September) to start its long journey toward their wintering locations in Africa. Among the main threats causing a decline in the population of EV are poisoning, electrocution, habitat destruction, etc. Conservation efforts focused on EV undertaken by AOS continue even when this species is not present in the territories of our country. AOS team has collaborated with local and national institutions to mitigate factors that threaten this species in its territories and in its migratory corridors. To...

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Inspection on Wildlife Poisoning in Albania.

Inspection on Wildlife Poisoning in Albania.

In the Balkan Peninsula, poisoning is one of the main threats to the population of vultures in the region. The existence of wildlife poisoning is a well-documented practice recognized by relevant institutions, inspectorates and agencies in the Balkan countries. At present this practice is illegal in Europe, including the Balkans, but it is still in use by local people as a quick and affordable “solution” for resolving the conflicts with predators and other wildlife. Investigating wildlife poisoning is a complex process that requires the cooperation and capacities among the key actors of this issue, including institutions (legislation), agencies (monitoring and survey of the territory), research institutes (toxicological analysis, necropsies). AOS is partnering with several structures to increase capacities and to include wildlife poisoning in their program. Over the first week of November, in three days AOS team & local volunteers visited 22 villages throughout the territories of...

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The first “National Anti-Poaching Camp” in Albania!

The first “National Anti-Poaching Camp” in Albania!

From October 25th-27th, the AOS team, as part of its “Combating Illegal Killing and Illegal Taking of Birds in Albania” project, conducted the National Anti-Poaching Camp, including 9 events: consultation among local and national stakeholders, 6 patrols across Seman / Terbuf territory, birdwatching, and a presentation about bird identification with Junior Rangers of Divjaka-Karavasta National Park.

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Joint monitoring with RAPA Fier on cases of illegal killing and taking of birds.

Joint monitoring with RAPA Fier on cases of illegal killing and taking of birds.

Illegal killing and taking of birds are among the major factors endangering the population of various species, many of which are part of the red list. Illegal killing is reported to be widespread among Mediterranean species. According to BirdLife International, 67% of bird species regularly present in at least one Mediterranean country are impacted in significant numbers and in total, 11-36 million individuals per year may be killed/taken illegally across the region. AOS is part of regional efforts on raising awareness and improving the current hunting legislation. As part of the “Combating Illegal Killing and Taking of Birds” project, AOS team conducted a jointly monitoring visit, together with the RAPA Fier along with Seman river mouth, Fier. The primary objectives of the visit were inspecting and monitoring for cases of illegal killing and taking of birds throughout the targeted area. AOS team together with the RAPA representatives embarked on the observation of the area at 4 am...

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“BIRD RINGING CAMP – TALE 2019”

“BIRD RINGING CAMP – TALE 2019”

Bird ringing is an important process and method for researchers and conservationists that work with avifauna. It provides us useful information on the biology, productivity and movements of birds, helping us to monitor bird populations and their development. There have been years since the bird ringing is being used for scientific purposes. It all started in Denmark, in 1899, when Hans Christian Cornelius Mortensen ringed Common Starlings, using metal rings engraved with successive numbers. AOS – Albanian Ornithological Society has been involved with bird ringing since 2015, collaborating with MME, BirdLife Hungary, assisting every year in their camps set up  in Shkodër (Velipojë), Lezhë (Tale), Durrës (Rrushkull), Butrint (Liqeni i Bufit), Vlorë (Orikum), Divjakë. On 7-12 October 2019, we were in Tale (Lezhë) to set up a bird ringing camp in order to continue our 5-year tradition on bird ringing. This is the first bird ringing camp lead and applied thoroughly by Albanian...

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#EuroBirdwatch19 – Together for migratory birds!

#EuroBirdwatch19 – Together for migratory birds!

“Eurobirdwatch” takes place every year on the first weekend of October to raise awareness and draw attention to the risks and threats that birds face during migration. During the European migratory bird weekend, organizations that work in nature conservation encourage people of all ages to visit and become part of the observation points to explore, count and enjoy birds. This year, more than 29,000 people became part of  Europe’s largest birdwatching event, organized by 44 national partner organizations of BirdLife International. During EuroBirdwatch 19, more than 4.2 million birds were  observed in various countries in Europe and Asia. AOS became part of the European weekend dedicated to migratory birds held over the first weekend of October, #EuroBirdwatch19, with five different events: observation, counting, awareness talks, bird ringing session, and crossing point surveys of migratory birds. One of the main objectives of the AOS team for #EuroBirdwatch19 consisted of bringing ...

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The latest monitoring over Egyptian Vulture’s territories.

The latest monitoring over Egyptian Vulture’s territories.

In recent months, the dedication to monitoring and evaluating Egyptian Vulture’s territories has been intense and dynamic for AOS team. Following consecutive visits, AOS conducted the latest monitoring over Egyptian Vulture’s territories.  One of the main purposes of this visit consisted of the last monitoring of the territories of this species, the main focus was the status of adult and young individuals on these territories. To ensure a clearer record of the situation, AOS team decided to visit the EV territories twice a day, during the morning and afternoon. Observers decided to visit and monitor the space near and around the nest of this species. During the day, there was a lack of their presence in the nest and around the territory. Afterward monitoring the situation, adult and young individuals left their nests and began their journey in the third week of September 2019. The productivity and performance of the growth and development of young individuals appear to have been...

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International Expert on Ecosystem Services-Postponed

International Expert on Ecosystem Services-Postponed

Background: Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS) in partnership with the PSEDA-Iliria and ResPublica  are jointly implementing the “Let’s Make Divjaka Natural Again” project, financed by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). The project “Let’s Make Divjaka Natural Again!” aims at preserving and protecting biodiversity as a whole in  Divjaka-Karavasta National Park by ensuring sustainability in decision-making through the involvement of local communities in conservation actions and by stimulating alternative local livelihood projects in order to reduce pressure on natural resources. AOS, through working actively in the protection of wild birds, has continually taken into consideration the protection of their critical and endangered habitats by addressing many aspects closely related to sustainable development and ecosystems preservations, especially the services they provide local communities and beyond Although, numerous studies and assessments have been undertaken on...

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“2-Days Vultur-ing”

“2-Days Vultur-ing”

AOS organized a two–days visit into the areas inhabited by the last Egyptian vultures (EV) in Albania (currently the local population consists of less than 10 pairs). The main activities during this visit were birdwatching and agro-tourism involving key representatives from decision making institutions with the aim to use this as a unique and special opportunity to raise awareness on the need for immediate action to prevent the extinction of this emblematic a species for Albania (locally called Cuckoo’s Horse). The Deputy Minister of Tourism and Environment, Mrs. Ornela Cuci, was among the participants and she was crucial for spreading the message for the conservation of the species. The Deputy Minister used social media to share the news and she even shared the information with the Prime Minister of Albania, Mr. Edi Rama. At the same day, last Saturday 31st, the Prime Minister posted pictures of the EV (provided by AOS) in his own Facebook account together with a message on the...

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Investigation on Wildlife Poisoning in Albania

Investigation on Wildlife Poisoning in Albania

Wildlife poisoning is still a “hidden crime” in Albania. People, media, state authorities never talk about it (or almost never) but it is present and it has been silently killing our wildlife for years. In order to bring to spotlight this issue and in the framework of Balkan Anti-poisoning project, our team went south of Albania at the beginning of this week to investigate cases of wildlife poisoning. We spent four days in the south of Albania, visiting 23 villages in 5 main regions (Pogradec, Korçë, Ersekë, Përmet, Gjirokastër) and filled a considerable number of questionnaires. Our main target group was the local shepherds. Even though, sometimes we found it difficult to take any information from the interviewers due to the fact they were suspicious and careful with the information they provided to us, we were lucky enough to have some of them confirming the existence of poisoning as a method to control predators, such as bears, wolfs, etc. Meanwhile, others mentioned shooting and...

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International Vulture Awareness Day – 2019! #FlyWithTheVultures

International Vulture Awareness Day – 2019! #FlyWithTheVultures

The first Saturday in September each year is International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD). This international day is dedicated to vultures and raising awareness among the public at large about the conservation efforts undertaken all over the world for the safeguard of vultures, those species of critical ecological and environmental importance yet poorly appreciated by the public. AOS became part of the international efforts held on September the 7th, IVAD 2019, through a paragliding event, supported by “Egyptian Vulture New Life” project, aiming to spread the message “Fly With The Vultures”. 16 participants representing AOS, the Regional Agency for Protected Areas of Vlora (Ministry of Tourism and Environment), partner NGOs, journalists, social/environmental activists, young people, all supporters of conservation efforts undertaken by AOS, gave a joyous performance across the skies of Llogora National Park, in the very same former nesting territory of the Egyptian Vulture, the last...

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Exciting sightings from Egyptian Vulture territories in Albania!

Exciting sightings from Egyptian Vulture territories in Albania!

Great news are coming this month from Albania, during the continuous monitoring of the Egyptian Vulture territories. Finally, we spotted a fledgling of the Egyptian Vulture in one of the nests under our survey. In the early morning of 19th of July, two observers from the Albanian Ornithological Society started the monitoring of one of the EV nests, hoping so much to confirm the breeding success. Our spotting scopes were pointed towards the nest. Unfortunately, nothing was spotted in the nest during first ten minutes. Then, a lovely brownish little bird, much smaller than the adults we used to see before in the nest, was standing in front of us. It was the fledgling of the Egyptian Vulture! A tiny bit of hope was standing in front of us, giving us faith that our work on the recovery of the Egyptian Vulture’s population in Albania will be successful. After a short time, one of the parents left the nest, probably in search of the daily food. Later on, the second parent left the nest...

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Upcoming Events

  1. Workshop on Anti-Poisoning and Wildlife Crime in Albania

    January 24 @ 9:00 am - 4:30 pm