Quest for Egyptian vultures in Albania 2017


© Dimitar Gradinarov

To continue the tradition from previous years (e.g see 2012, 2013 and 2014), in April 2017 an international research team composed by members of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB/BirdLife Bulgaria), the Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS / BirdLife Greece) and the Association of Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA), aimed its efforts to monitor the status of the Egyptian vulture breeding population in Albania.

In total, 26 of the species’ breeding territories known in the last 15 years were visited. Out of them, 10 territories were confirmed to be still occupied (7 pairs and 3 single territorial birds were observed). These are good news as it indicates that the population in the country the last 5 years seems to be stable. In comparison, 11 territories were found active 10 years ago - in 2007 (Ben Hallman, unpubl. data), 7 in 2012, 9 in 2013 and 6 in 2014 (monitoring was not complete this year).

The typical habitat of the Egyptian vulture in Albania consists of traditional rural landscapes with extensive livestock grazing (mainly sheep and goats) and small-scale farming practices. In those areas where Egyptian vultures were present, the researchers noticed that there was plenty of food available (livestock, tortoises and other wildlife). Semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect additional information from the local people about the presence of the species, threats and its cultural value in the visited regions (ca. 40 interviewed people). Poisoning, illegal killing, and electrocution on dangerous poles were identified as the most serious threats for the species in the country. The team also used every opportunity to raise public awareness in the areas it visited about the status and threats of the Egyptian vulture.

Albania, PPNEA, BSPB, HOS, Egyptian vulture