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, which is funded by the Mava Foundation. As part of the project, we launched the 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 programme selected to fund a total of nine projects. One of these projects is the ‘Albania Anti-poisoning Centre’ led by the Royal Albania Foundation.
Albania Anti-poisoning Centre
(c) Royal Albania Foundation
The Albania Anti-poisoning Centre was initiated as part of the Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project. The centre recently carried out activities to train young veterinarians, students of veterinary medicine and active young people that work towards the protection of wildlife. The centre mainly train them on how to deal with illegal wildlife poisoning incidents. The latest training also covered the veterinary treatment for a bird with a fracture.
The centre recently received a Western marsh harrier with a fracture in its left arm. The staff of the centre, together with the veterinary doctors and students who participated in the training, treated the bird. Furthermore, the centre received a Eurasian scops owl that was poisoned. The team used antidotes and thankfully, the ‘patient’ survived!
We are thrilled to see the next generation of wildlife experts in Albania trained to deal with wildlife poisoning, which is a significant threat to vultures and other wildlife. We wish them the best of luck with their future endeavours!
The Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project Small Grants Programme
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.
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.