Human activities are the main cause of mortality for the Egyptian vultures in the Balkans


Lazarus (HOS/L. Sidiropoulos)

Since 1997, a total of 73 dead Egyptian Vultures have been recorded, out of which in 61 cases the reason of death has been confirmed or the source considered reliable. Human-induced reasons of death were more frequent (57%) than natural reasons (18%). This indicates the assessment of mortality causes for the Egyptian vulture in Bulgaria and Greece.

The most frequent humaninduced reason of death was poisoning (86%) followed by direct persecution (8%) and electrocution (6%), while the most frequent natural causes of death were predation (36%) and bad health condition (27%).

Recent situation (2012-2015) shows again higher frequency of human-induced mortality (39%) compared to natural causes (29%). However, the ratio of natural mortality causes seems to be relatively higher than in the past period (since 1997), probably because of more intensive nest monitoring (within the LIFE+ project “The Return of the Neophron”) allowing for the detection of dead juveniles in the nest.

Since 1997, most of the individuals found dead were adults (61%), followed by mortality in the nest (hatchlings and fledglings, in total of 19%) and juveniles (15%). Mortality in adults and immature Egyptian vultures was mostly due to human-induced causes (85% of cases), while mortality in hatchlings, fledglings and juveniles was due to natural causes (52%) and only in rare occasions to human induced causes (5%). Similar ratio is observed also in the mortality cases during the last few years (2012-2015).

Overall analysis (1997 – 2015) by country (Bulgaria vs Greece) indicates similar rates of mortality causes (mainly poisoning, with 15 dead individuals in each country), although there seems to be more evidence of direct persecution in Bulgaria with three known cases, whereas there are none in Greece. Analysis of data from recent time (2012 – 2015) shows a larger amount of poisoning cases in Greece (seven in Greece but only two in Bulgaria, but more cases of direct persecution and electrocution in Bulgaria (two in Bulgaria, none in Greece).

Find the report: “Assessment of mortality causes for the Egyptian vulture (Neophron Percnopterus) in Bulgaria and Greece (1997-2015)” here.

LIFE+ project The Return of the Neophron, BSPB, Egyptian vulture