The Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) used to breed in North-eastern, Central, Southern, and South-eastern regions of Armenia but the population of the species declined significantly in the country over 1991–2002. Their conservation status was last updated in 2009, based on data collected from 2003 to 2008. A recently published journal article updated the conservation status of the species in Armenia using data collected from 2003 until 2019. The research demonstrates a moderate increase of the species population.
Griffon Vulture status in Armenia 2020
The monitoring of the species in the country shows that Griffon Vultures inhabit a wide variety of landscapes with the availability of high cliffs, and occupying elevation ranges from 600 to 2,300 m above sea level. According to the latest estimations, in 2019, 12 colonies of Griffon Vultures were recorded with a total number of 48–54 pairs. The annual breeding success, which was measured as fledglings per occupied nest, also increased from 71% in 2003–2004 to 80–81% in recent years.
Threats and conservation measures proposed
Although several actions, such as the increase in safe food availability, helped moderately increase the population of the species, there are still threats that need to be tackled. Direct persecution for trophy hunting and domestication of Griffon Vultures as pets still occur in the country. One possibility for domesticating birds also includes finding birds poisoned by heavy metals at municipal dumps or by use of Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The recent research proposes the following measures:
- Change in trophy policy and captive breeding, particularly meaning listing down all existing specimens and introduction of obligatory procedure of issuing a certificate of origin for each new specimen
- Stricter penalization for illegal shooting or trapping
- Strengthening of ghd Iinspection Body to improve control
- Improving public outreach aimed at raising the value of this species
- Study of the application of Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in livestock husbandry
- Improving waste management.
The journal article further adds that species’ monitoring should accompany these measures.