Illegal poisoning is the most critical threat to vultures in the Balkans and is preventing their comeback in the region. One of the ways we here at the Vulture Conservation Foundation are tackling this issue is through the implementation of the Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project. Earlier this year with funding from the MAVA Foundation we announced the Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project Small Grants Programme to support other non-governmental organisations working on vulture conservation in the Balkan Peninsula and to facilitate the fight against poisoning in the region.
The Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project Small Grants Programme
Our latest BAPP workshop in Madrid
The Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project Small Grants Programme is the first time we at the Vulture Conservation Foundation have run a grant programme, and with this we aim to reinforce national capacities within relevant governmental authorities and conservation NGOs from six countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, North Macedonia and Serbia) of the Balkan Peninsula. This work will support those organisations to improve the skills and capabilities in the detection and mitigation of poisoning incidents through the implementation of previously developed National Roadmaps and Strategies. More specifically, through these small grants we endeavor to secure the implementation of priority anti-poisoning actions listed in the National Anti-Poisoning Road-maps/Strategies, strengthen the capacities of relevant national governmental institutions in combating the illegal use of poison baits, improve the enforcement of relevant legislation and attract other funding opportunities for implementation of large-scale anti-poisoning projects in the region. Through the support of the MAVA Foundation, we managed to dedicate a budget of €60.000 for these small grants.
Projects selected for funding
A total of 11 project proposals were submitted for review, of which nine were chosen to be eligible for funding. The duration of these projects is from 6-18 months, with implementation starting from June 2019. The selected projects are:
- Anti-Poisoning on Wildlife in Albania, led by the Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS)
- Albania Anti-poisoning Centre, led by Royal Albania Foundation
- Bosnia and Herzegovina anti-poisoning program – phase 1, led by Ornithological Society “Naše ptice”
- Poison – better not touch, led by Association Biom from Croatia
- Reducing drivers of illegal poison use in critical vulture habitat, related to the depredation of hunting dogs by wolves, in Dadia NP and adjacent SPAs, Preliminary risk assessment and mitigation proposal, led by WWF Greece
- Establishment of early warning system for wildlife poisoning in Greece – Messolonghi using GPS tracked vultures as detectives
- On the way to wildlife detoxification in North Macedonia, led by Macedonian Ecological Society (MES)
- Establishment of early warning system for wildlife poisoning in North Macedonia using GPS tracked vultures as detectives, led by Nature Conservation Association AQUILA
- Stop bird poisoning in Serbia, led by Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia
All projects approved a totalling budget of €59.980.
A committee comprised of member of Vulture Conservation Staff and Advisory Board members evaluated each project proposal based on their feasibility, impact, adherence to national priorities and cost-effectiveness ratio.
The Balkan Vultures Poison Study
The Balkan Vultures Poison Study revealed that over the last 20 years, 465 vultures were documented to have died as a result of being poisoned in the whole of the Balkan Peninsula. However, with an estimated 20 per cent of poisoning incidents ever discovered and reported, the authors put a conservative estimate of over 2,300 vultures poisoned in the Balkan Peninsula since 1998.
Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project
The Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project is a cross-border initiative bringing together wildlife conservation organisations, governmental agencies and other stakeholder such as; hunting associations, farmers and scientists, in six Balkan countries to tackle illegal wildlife poisoning.
Funded by the Mava Foundation we aim to secure real and continued engagement of the relevant national governmental authorities in the Balkan region against illegal wildlife poisoning and increase their capacity to counteract it and working together to take positive steps to protect vultures.
The Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project is a partnership between us here at the Vulture Conservation Foundation and the Albanian Ornithological Society-AOS, Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania-PPNEA, Ornithological Society “Naše ptice”,Association BIOM, Hellenic Ornithological Society-HOS, Macedonian Ecological Society-MES.
The Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project also contributes directly into the implementation of the Vulture Multi-Species Action Plan by carrying out anti-poisoning actions in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, North Macedonia and Serbia, and is building on our work for the last decade in the Balkans thorugh the Balkan Vulture Action Plan