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What is the future of vulture conservation? Insights from vulture experts

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As we step into the new year, we are eager to envision the future of vulture conservation. We did not seek insights from a crystal ball but from the knowledgeable minds that joined the European Vulture Conference 2023. And their perspectives couldn’t have been more enlightening.

What is the future of vulture conservation? Watch the video

Cover image: Cinereous Vulture © Hansruedi Weyrich

The European Vulture Conference gathered +400 vulture experts, researchers, conservationists and enthusiasts willing to share results and best practices and learn from each other. 2023 was a great year for vulture conservation in Europe, as populations are on a positive trajectory. New initiatives to strengthen threatened populations and bring back species where they’ve gone extinct are multiplying. However, the story isn’t as successful in several parts of the globe, especially in Africa and Asia, as Jose Antonio Donazar mentioned:

We are facing a dichotomy: in Europe, we are privileged as vulture populations are growing, especially in Spain, Portugal, and Southern France. But in other parts of Europe and the world, the situation is very different. There are still menaces affecting vulture population. We must be very careful and vigilant in monitoring these populations , as even small changes in the landscape and the economy can threaten their survival.

Jose Antonio Donazar, Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC

Collaborative work, capacity building, decision-making based on scientific research, funding and political will

These were the key messages our participants shared. The European Vulture Conference was a moment to celebrate successes, but also to map threats and prioritise action and effort. By joining forces and bridging the gaps, in data, knowledge and resources, we can ensure a brighter future for vulture populations across the globe.

“There is hope. (….) it is really up to us.”

Umberto Gallo-Orsi, CMS Raptors MOU

For us, at the Vulture Conservation Foundation, our commitment remains unwavering. Our vision for Europe’s vultures is to see their populations be self-sustaining and healthy, supported by good quality habitats, and valued by people. We will persist in raising awareness, conducting vigilant monitoring, coordinating captive breeding initiatives, facilitating strategic releases, and, most importantly, fostering collaborative efforts.

VCF team and board member at EVC 2023 © Hansruedi Weyrich

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