Four Egyptian Vultures Fitted with Transmitters to Help in Endangered Species’ Protection

Four Egyptian vultures were fitted with GPS transmitters in Bulgaria’s Eastern Rhodope mountains this summer. The data on these birds’ movements will help in the protection of their globally endangered species, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) said.

Two of the birds – Momchil and Sharko – are aged 2 and 3, respectively, a period when vultures still roam and get to know the world. The other two birds – Yana and Stenli – are adult vultures nesting in the Eastern Rhodope mountains; they raised a total of three chicks this year.

The GPS transmitters were provided within a conservation programme for the Egyptian vulture on its migration route. Within the programme in the last 13 years, such transmitters have been placed on over 90 vultures in Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, Albania, Syria, Jordan, and Ethiopia. The data thus gathered has not only shown the species’ main migration routes and wintering locations but has also helped uncover cases of poisons in the wild, pouching, locations with high mortality from electrocution and  many other threats. The large-scale actions taken to limit these threats along the entire migration route have already led to the first signs of stabilization of the Egyptian vulture’s population in Bulgaria, the BSPB said.

The Egyptian vulture is one of the most endangered bird species on the planet. Its population in the Balkans has declined by over 80% in the last 25 years due to poisoning, poaching and electrocution caused by the power grid. In Bulgaria, the conservation efforts for this species are carried out under the Egyptian Vulture New LIFE project.