|EU comes to aid of Egyptian Vultures|
A European Union (EU) Life-Nature project is supporting the recovery of Egyptian Vultures Neophron percnopterus in south-east France.
Unlike the population in the French Pyrenees, which has remained stable at around 58 pairs, Egyptian Vultures in the south-east of France have declined by more than 59% in the last 50 years. Just 16 pairs were left by 2003. Now the Ligue pour la Protection de Nature (LPO, BirdLife in France) is overseeing conservation efforts that include establishing vulture feeding stations, or restaurants, to reverse the speciess decline in three areas: Provence- Alpes-Cote dAzur, Rhone-Alpes and Languedoc-Roussillon. Similar restaurants have been successfully employed in the reintroduction of Cinereous Aegypius monachus and Griffon Vultures Gyps fulvus to other parts of the country (see World Birdwatch 25(2): pp.2628).
LPO is co-ordinating the programme nationally, alongside EU environment team members and Ecosphere, who oversee Life-Nature projects in France. Five local organisations are in charge of implementing action plans, working closely with two scientific bodies who deal with biological studies and veterinary analysis.
In addition to supplementary feeding, the vultures will be closely monitored to assess breeding success, prevent nest site disturbance, and study the birds ecology, habitat preferences and the threats they face. Running alongside is a public campaign to raise awareness of the birds and their conservation needs.