Safe food for the only breeding vulture in Albania – the Egyptian Vulture!

The only breeding vulture in our country, the Egyptian vulture, will now have a new station with complementary and safe food in the Vjosa valley. This development comes as a result of the need to undertake conservation actions for the population of the Egyptian vulture, which is classified as a globally endangered species.

The global population of this species consists of about 12,000 – 38,000 breeding pairs, about 25-49% of which are found in Europe and only 49 breeding pairs are counted in the Balkan countries. The Albanian population consisted of 6 breeding pairs in 2020, while for 2021 the monitoring shows that we can have a decrease in the number of pairs. In recent years the population of this vulture has experienced a drastic decline, only in Europe it is estimated at about 50-79% decline, while globally the decline is thought to be even greater. A similar downward trend is present for the Albanian population. The rapid decline of the Egyptian vulture population is also the reason why it is on the list of globally endangered birds according to the IUCN.

This population faces many threats and dangers, among the most important we mention poisoning and use of poison baits, collision with power lines, electric shock, habitat destruction / loss, lack of food, hunting and persecution. While in Albania, in addition to other threats, it is estimated that the main threat for this vulture’s population is poisoning and the use of poison baits in nature.

In this situation, in addition to other educational and conservation actions, the construction of controlled food stations is considered as a very effective measure to prevent poisoning of the Egyptian vulture individuals and meet their food needs in case of its absence.

For this purpose, AOS, supported by RAPA Gjirokastra and the Conservation Youth Club of Gjirokastra (CYC) within the project “Egyptian Vulture New Life” is costructing a food station in the upper part of the Vjosa valley, where in the first phase consists in is testing to find a favorable site for its construction. The study phase consists in the distribution of controlled food at several points near the territory of the Egyptian vulture and their continuous monitoring with trap cameras. At the end of this phase, the results were extremely positive, the cameras managed to photograph, among other species, a pair of Egyptian vultures, which we like to refer to as the “Charchova Couple”, where one of the partners, Aoos / Vjosa, is marked with a GPS tracker.

The illustrative pictures clearly demonstrate the graces of this wonderful vulture, so do not miss the chance to see them.

In the future, AOS will continue with the construction of the controlled food station so that, next season, this pair of Egyptian vultures will find safe and healthy food after their long journey from Africa to Albania.

Until then, let us hope for a safe migration season for the Egyptian Vulture population!