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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

News from Ethiopia

This from Stoyan Nikolov from Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds:

In January 2019, a joint expedition of BSPB, RSPB, BirdLife Africa, EWNHS, SCF, NCF and APLORI, under the support of the local experts and authorities, went to Ethiopia with three main objectives:

(1) monitor the numbers of Egyptian vultures in the wintering congregation site in Afar and small part of Oromia region;

(2) collect evidence on the major threats (poisoning, electrocution/collision, and direct persecution) which to inform adequate conservation measures;

(3) deploy transmitters on Egyptian vultures in their wintering grounds.


(1) 1,644 Egyptian vultures were counted to roost in the studied area (1,019 adults/subadults, 644 immatures/juveniles, and 44 birds with unidentified age). This is the highest number recorded so far, compared to previous surveys (2009, 2010 and 2013);

(2) Electrocution and collision with power lines was evidenced to cause significant mortality. We inspected over 180 km of dangerous power lines (medium and low voltage) for electrocution and
collision victims. We found a total of 42 carcasses of birds, including 6 Egyptian Vultures and 9 other vultures. Of these carcasses, 22 were victims of electrocution and 15 were victims of collisions with the power line. Most of the victims were concentrated along killer power lines in the areas of Metehara (grassland with high abundance and easily accessible food for scavengers) and Logia (along two rubbish dumps with high abundance of scavengers). Further steps for mitigation of this problem will be done in synergy with MSB II project.

Based on the information collected from the authorities and local stakeholders, non-intentional or intentional poisoning (including with veterinary medical products toxic for vultures) does not seem to be a systematic serious threat for the Egyptian and other vultures in the studied area, neither is direct persecution. However, further investigation will be needed especially re poisoning as an adult individual was found at a rubbish dump and the autopsy of the bird suggests intoxication with heavy metals (final analyses yet to be completed).

(3) Seven Egyptian vultures (2 adults + 5 immatures) were trapped and tagged with GPS-GSM transmitters in the rubbish dumps in Metehara and Logya. You can follow their daily movements via our website. http://www.lifeneophron.eu/#transmitters

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