The Vulture Multi-species Action Plan (Vulture MsAP), approved recently in the conference of the parties of the Convention for Migratory Species – a global strategic blueprint identifying priorities and actions to conserve 15 species of old world vultures – says it clearly: (illegal) poison with poisoned baits (often against predators of livestock) is the main threat to vultures worldwide.
The VCF is particularly active in fighting this threat and is implementing a number of projects across Europe, funded by the EU LIFE fund or the MAVA Foundation, that include many actions against poisoning. As part of the LIFE RUPIS project in Portugal/Spain, for example, the VCF is involved in fighting this threat in the Douro canyon. Among the actions implemented there: an anti-poisoning dog unit was established within the Portuguese police unit in the region – the first such team in the north of Portugal and is being used to patrol the area. Until December, they had done more than 50 patrols in the area of the project. The project has also established all the protocols and systems to collect and analyse all vultures and other wildlife that are suspected of being poisoned, including the protocols for registration of the case, necropsy, and the toxicological analyses. Prior to the LIFE RUPIS project, the national protocols were not being implemented on the Portuguese side of the Douro region, due to lack of funding or coordination, so poisoning cases would go undetected or would not be analysed.
As part of the same project, the LIFE RUPIS partners have also been partnering and networking with other organisations in Portugal fighting the same threat – including the LPN, who is leading LIFE Imperial, a LIFE project for the conservation of the imperial eagle in southern Portugal. There, the LPN has also found that the use of poison is one of the main causes of unnatural mortality in imperial eagles, and continues to be a relatively frequent practice, primarily for the control of predators. As part of their project they have recently released the video above, explaining 15 important facts on the illegal use of poison in Portugal.
Poison kills eagles – and vultures – and everything else!