Albanian hospitality for the Egyptian vultures returning back home

Albanian hospitality for the Egyptian vultures returning back home
Only a few days until the arrival of the Egyptian vulture and the supplementary feeding stations (SFS) are ready to welcome the ‘Messenger of Spring’. Both of the stations will be maintained by the “Savers of the Egyptian Vulture” network all along the Egyptian vulture’s breeding season. The maintenance represents a continuous process, which requires the cleaning out of the excessive vegetation or shrub cutting in order to be seen and easily distinguished by the vultures in the area. Also, besides the importance of “visual” part, the SFSs are a key tool in providing safe and free poison food for the EV. Supplementary feeding is one of the conservation measures that is being implemented in all the Balkan Peninsula countries, where the Egyptian vulture is still breeding, in order to help the recovery of this rare species. The Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is considered a globally endangered species and its population is estimated to be around 51 occupied territories and 47 breeding pairs across the Balkans while in Albania occupies less than 10 territories. The major threat that has caused the shrinking of the population of this magnificent vulture are the poisoning-baits, the “silent killer”, used due to human-carnivore conflicts or predator control. For this reason, in order to reduce the risk of being poisoned, PPNEA has constructed two supplementary feeding stations and since that time, they have been maintained regularly by being furnished with controlled food every week and month. Also, through the trail cameras installed, the visits of the EV can now be monitored and photos of them have shown how often the species use these sites to feed on their “favourite food”. It may seem easy to maintain these stations but every work has its difficulties and every member of the network or person engaged can face some challenges, like the distance or the terrain to get to the station, which sometimes can be hard to manage. Also, despite the presence of the pandemic crisis, the members of the SEVN  are keeping up with their great work and haven’t stopped, but always under high caution and surveillance. We would like to thank the Egyptian Vulture New LIFE project for their significant support and the Regional Administration of the Protected Areas of Gjirokastër, one of our main local partners for helping in the maintenance of the SFSs.
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