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Friday, July 17, 2015

Egyptian vulture workshop in Bulgaria

Earlier this month over 70 Egyptian vulture experts and conservationists gathered in Sofia, Bulgaria to discuss and seek remedies for the continuing decline of the this species.  The gathering was convened under the auspices of the "Return of the Neophron" Project being carried out by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, which is a Life +  Project funded by the European Union. Click here to read more about the meeting.  Four attendees with special interest in vultures in Oman, Maia Sarouff-Willson, Mansoor Al Jahdahmi, and Mike McGrady, participated.

Egyptian vulture is a globally endangered species, which is suffering large declines in most parts of its range. The declines seem to be the result of a complicated web of a large number of threats acting across its range.  Because the Egyptian vulture is migratory in part of its range, the threats are international, regional, and seasonal in character... Like I said...its complicated.  Click here to visit BirdLife's fact sheet for Egyptian vulture.

Photo: Dimitar Gradinarov
Attendees at the Workshop on Egyptian Vultures held in Sofia, Bulgaria, July 2015.
By the end of the summer, the outcomes of the conference, including a draft Egyptian Vulture Flyway Action Plan, will have been assembled, reviewed, and made available at the Return of the Neophron web site.

One outcome of the meeting that can be reported is that all participants were very interested in Oman because it seems to be a stronghold for this species, both in terms of its resident breeding population and its importance as a winter-time destination.  While we are in the very early days of understanding the Egyptian vulture in Oman, it seems that the sultanate may hold the largest breeding population in the Middle East, and be the most important safe place for birds from farther north (probably mostly Asia) to winter.  More work like that being displayed on this blog and being done by the Environment Society of Oman is necessary.  Filling the gap in our understanding of Egyptian vulture ecology in Oman will be one of the recommendations coming from the workshop.  You can download a declaration by the workshop attendees by clicking here

So, that you don't suffer from withdrawal, below is a map of the movements during 10-17 July of the Egyptian vulture we are tracking via satellite. In this week it has been moving between the coast and villages slightly inland and SW of Yiti.

Movements of an Egyptian vulture fitted with a satellite-received transmitter during 10-17 July 2015.