The project LIFE RUPIS aims to strength the populations of Egyptian Vulture in Douro International valley, through improved breeding success and reduction of mortality. The project is implemented by the VCF and partners, including SPEA (BirdLife in Portugal), ATN and Palombar (regional conservation organisations in NE Portugal), the Junta de Castilla y Leon & the Fundación Patrimonio Natural de Castilla Y León, the Portuguese electricity distributor EDP-D, the Portuguese statutory conservation agency ICNF and the Portuguese environmental police force (GNR). It is funded by the EU LIFE Fund, and co-funded by the MAVA foundation. The project is tackling the most important threats to Egyptian vultures, namely food shortages, degradation of the habitat, electrocution risk and the illegal use of poison
Among the several actions within the project is the establishment of supplementary feeding points on the Portuguese side of the canyon to cater for the needs of Egyptian vultures – these supplementary feeding sites are managed by local NGOs ATN and Palombar.
So far 4 supplementary feeding sites have been established, with the latest one (in Escalhão, on the southern part of the project area, managed by ATN) opened only a few weeks ago. Under the Life Rupis project, a cross-border feeding strategy for vultures has been developed, and the sites aim to contribute to the implementation of the National Strategy for the Conservation of Scavengers, published by the ICNF (the Portuguese statutory nature conservation agency). In the LIFE RUPIS sites a relatively small amount of food is usually deposited once a week, scattered in the site and prepared in such a way as to benefit mostly the Egyptian vulture. In the periods of greatest need (breeding season) we increase apportions to twice a week.
As you can see in the video, the new site has been immediately used by the three vulture species occurring in the area, with up to 10 Egyptian vultures feeding there at one point.
The Egyptian vulture is Europe’s most threatened vulture species – classified as “Endangered” at global level. While the three others European vulture species are registering positive trends across Europe, Egyptian vultures continue to decline in most regions in the continent (and elsewhere).
Photos and video: ATN