Announcing our new monthly AOS e-NEWSLETTER

Announcing our new monthly AOS e-NEWSLETTER

We are pleased to announce the launch of “AOS NEWSLETTER”, dedicated entirely to our actions and efforts for the conservation of the Albanian avifauna. The first issue of AOS NEWSLETTER will be sent out in the coming weeks and it will be regularly published each month.

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White Storks are coming too!

White Storks are coming too!

We’re already in the infancy of the spring season, the time of the year when migration birds leave their wintering grounds including here the famous bearer of newborn babies to expecting parents and the widely beloved symbol, White Stork. The first White Stork for this year 2020 in Albania was spotted today in Shkodra (Figure no.1). Meanwhile, the White Storks in Fier, Gjirokastra, and Saranda still haven’t arrived, we expect that they will very soon arrive from migration.

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Ornithological Friday in Divjaka-Karavasta National Park

Ornithological Friday in Divjaka-Karavasta National Park

The enthusiastic and inquisitive students of “Hafiz Ibrahim Dalliu” school became part of the latest “Ornithological Friday”, where jointly, with the staff of the school and the students, we headed to the epicenter of Albanian biodiversity, Divjaka-Karavasta National Park.

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Highest of records for the colony of the Dalmatian Pelicans breeding in Divjaka

Highest of records for the colony of the Dalmatian Pelicans breeding in Divjaka

The latest direct observation, conducted during the third week of February 2020, revealed positive indicators for this breeding season. The Pelican Islands appeared inhabited by the Dalmatian Pelicans with the number of breeders increasing every day. All three sub-breeding beds built by the end of December 2019 are occupied by breeding pairs. 

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Intentional poisoning of wildlife is now a crime in Albania

Intentional poisoning of wildlife is now a crime in Albania

In this course of actions, in synergy with “Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project” supported by VCF and MAVA Foundation, “Illegal Killing and Taking of Birds” supported by EuroNatur and MAVA Foundation and the “Egyptian Vulture New Life” supported by BSPB and EU, AOS lobbied in 2019 for the amendment of the Law No. 10 006, dated 23.10.2008 “On the Protection of Fauna”. The integrated amendments proposed by AOS to the Law on the protection of fauna aimed for:

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Working Meeting: Pesticides and VMP legislation analysis.

Working Meeting: Pesticides and VMP legislation analysis.

Following our efforts to tackle wildlife poisoning in Albania, last week, a working meeting took place in both North Macedonia and Albania, among the Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds (BSPB), the Macedonian Ecological Society (MES), the Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS) and Association for the Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA).

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Results of transect surveys for mapping of dangerous pylons and power lines in Drino valley, southern Albania

Results of transect surveys for mapping of dangerous pylons and power lines in Drino valley, southern Albania

In August and September 2019, the Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS) conducted some 41 km of transect surveys for mapping of dangerous pylons and detecting mortality due to electrocution and collisions with power grid in the stronghold of the Egyptian Vulture in Drino valley, part of the Globally Important Bird Area of Gjirokastra, in the southern part of Albania. The survey gave evidence of several dangerous power lines in the lower part of the Drino valley and particularly in the power line connecting the main grid with Glina.  Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix) and Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) were found as victims of hazardous power lines. It is worth to mention here that these results are just “the top of the iceberg” as many of the victims are removed by terrestrial predators (as in the current cases – only feathers were found). Identified mortality, although not massive, is quite concerning especially regarding the globally threatened Lesser Kestrel, as the area is known as an...

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Poachers caught and hunting hides destroyed

Poachers caught and hunting hides destroyed

Illegal Killing and Taking of Birds in Albania  According to Brochet et al (2016), Albania is listed among the most impacted countries from the illegal killing of birds with an average 265 000 birds killed per year. Approximately 30 000 – 40 000 birds are caught annually, 20% of which is thought to be traded in pet shops and the remainder are trafficked. The most threatened species from unlawful hunting methods are Common quail, Rock partridge, Common blackbird, and European goldfinch.  Over the third week of January, the team at Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS) conducted their field-monitoring visit to watch for cases of illegal killing and taking of birds throughout the pilot areas of the “Combating Illegal Killing and Taking of Birds” project, specifically – Semani river outlet and Thana Lake.  AOS field-team embarked on the routine monitoring visit early in the morning (7:30) from the  “Semani river outlet” located within the borders of Divjaka-Karavasta National Park, where...

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World Wetlands Day 2020 at Divjaka-Karavasta National Park!

World Wetlands Day 2020 at Divjaka-Karavasta National Park!

World Wetlands Day 2020 - Wetlands and Biodiversity!  The 2nd of February is recognized as World Wetland Day (WWD), which marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. This international day was established to raise awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity and biodiversity. Each year a theme is selected to focus attention and help raise public awareness about the value of wetlands. The theme of WWD for 2020 was “Wetlands and Biodiversity”, an opportunity to highlight the importance of wetland biodiversity conservation. Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS), since its establishment, has contributed by campaigning for the protection of the ecological integrity of Albanian wetlands. In March 2017, there was a proposal to construct a  massive tourism investment project within Divjaka-Karavasta National Park, where one of the most important wetland-complexes on the Eastern Adriatic coast is located. In response to...

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Completed : International Waterbirds Census 2020 in Albania ✔️

Completed : International Waterbirds Census 2020 in Albania ✔️

During the second weekend of January (10-12th of January), like every year, the Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS) became part of the  “International Waterbirds Census” (IWC) 2020. This international monitoring program is implemented in more than 143 countries and has been implemented in Albania since 1993. It has become a tradition for IWC to be joined by interested persons, volunteers, experts, local people, and every year their presence is increasing. Albanian Ornithological Society is responsible for the coordination of IWC at the national level, and during IWC 2020 in Albania, AOS played a pivotal role in standardizing counts and coordinating the whole process. More than 120 participants were involved in counting, monitoring and assessing. The entire process and each team were led and supervised by seven experts of AOS, PPNEA, RAPA Kukës, Tirana University, Agricultural University of Tirana. These were supported by the National Agency of Protected Areas and the 12 Regional...

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National Workshop – “Anti-Poisoning and Wildlife Crime in Albania”

National Workshop – “Anti-Poisoning and Wildlife Crime in Albania”

On 24th January 2020 a national workshop was held in Tirana within the scope of “Balkan Anti-Poisoning Projects” and “Egyptian Vulture New Life” projects aiming at raising awareness among national responsible institutions on the scale, root causes and consequences of the illegal use of poison baits and wildlife crime in Albania. The national workshop “Anti-Poisoning and Wildlife Crime in Albania” gathered diverse key stakeholders including – representatives from Institute of Food Safety and Veterinary, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ministry of Tourism and Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Customs Office, OSCE Tirana, Regional Agencies of Protected Areas, conservation organisations, toxicologist, international conservation organisations. The program and sessions were divided into three different panels facilitated by the Ministry of Tourism and Environment and Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS). For further details on the agenda click – here.  The...

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National Workshop “Anti-Poisoning and wildlife crime in Albania” is 3 days away!

National Workshop “Anti-Poisoning and wildlife crime in Albania” is 3 days away!

On January 24, 2020, Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS)  jointly with Ministry of Tourism and Environment (MTE) and Embassy of Spain in Albania (ESP) within the Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project and Egyptian Vulture New Life projects will organize a national workshop on Anti-Poisoning and Wildlife Crime in Albania. The workshop will be attended by representatives of national responsible institutions, Ministry of Tourism and Environment, Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, Hunter Groups, Anti-Poisoning Working Group, State Environmental Inspectorate, Customs Service, representatives from Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Toxicologists, national and international NGOs, international and national experts as well as other groups of interest.  Wildlife poisoning in Albania   Wildlife poisoning is illegal in Europe, including the Balkans. However, it is still happening. It is manifested mostly through the use of poison baits as a quick and affordable ‘solution’ for resolving the...

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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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