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Dispatches from Manila (CMS COP12): a step change for Vulture conservation needed – Vulture MsAP

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Vultures are a characteristic, distinctive and spectacular component of the earth´s biodiversity. They provide critically important ecosystem services: they are nature’s clean-up crew and this translates into significant economic benefits related to the health of both wild and domestic animals, and to humans.

Most African-Eurasian vultures are undergoing drastic population declines, the majority now being formally classified as Critically Endangered, the highest risk of extinction in the wild. To prevent this, effective conservation action must be implemented or expanded across the range of these magnificent birds.

The CMS Vulture Multi-species Action Plan

The extensive, transnational movements made by vultures mean that their safety can only be guaranteed if countries come together and agree on a plan for their protection. This realisation, along with the steepness of the declines in most species, led to swift international agreement on the need to develop a Multi-species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP) under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). The VCF was one of the co-coordinators of this plan and is in the CMS COP 12 to promote the need to endorse and implement the Vulture MsAP.

The Vulture MsAP provides a comprehensive roadmap for the conservation of all 15 migratory Old World vultures. This includes 128 Range States, over most of the combined land masses of Africa and Eurasia. Its goal is to achieve the recovery of these populations to sustainable levels by 2029, with objectives to:

  • rapidly halt current population declines in all species covered by the Vulture MsAP;
  • reverse recent population trends to bring the conservation status of each species back to a favourable level; and 
  • provide conservation management guidelines applicable to all Range States covered by the Vulture MsAP.

Vultures need a step-change in conservation action, led by Governments and supported by all stakeholders, including many who have so far not recognised these birds’ importance.

What can you do?

PROMOTE AND IMPLEMENT the Vulture MsAP. It may be used as it stands, or as a guide for drafting national vulture conservation action plans for Range States, suited to their respective situations.


This collaboration should particularly target players in agrochemical and livestock sectors regarding veterinary pharmaceuticals and poison baits; energy sectors regarding energy generation and transmission; and health sectors regarding disease transmission and trade in vulture body parts for belief-based use.

Collaborative action must also tackle other threats from lead ammunition, loss of food supplies, habitat destruction and degradation, and direct persecution and disturbance of vultures caused by human activities.

RAISE AWARENESS and INCREASE SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE of the plight of vultures, their ecological importance and valuable ecosystem services they provide, and solutions for vulture conservation at the highest political levels both nationally and internationally.

SUPPORT VULTURE CONSERVATION WITH FUNDS AND OTHER RESOURCES. The resource needs for coordination and implementation of the Vulture MsAP are considerable, in terms of both funds and other forms of support. Governments and institutional funders are stepping up, but far more support is needed to achieve the changes needed that would save vultures. You can start by donating to the VCF!

The complete Vulture MsAP, together with a summary in several languages, can be accessed from the CMS website at


You can download the summary below.

Download Vulture multi-Species Action Plan – executive summary vulture-msap_summary_e.pdf Adobe Acrobat Document 3.7 MB Download

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