Vultures know no borders, and any sustainable conservation programme needs to be intercontinental in scope – as our colleague Ohad Hatzofe from the Israeli Nature & Parks Authority (also a member of the VCF advisory council) experienced first hand, when he received a contact from Sudan about a griffon vulture that had been wing-tagged in Israel, and caught there.
At the beginning, the people who held the bird in captivity sounded cooperative, but soon Ohad received a request for 10,000 USD to release the bird. Paying was (obviously) not an option, and Ohad released the news on social media to seek for solutions – a wonderfully international movement to help was then put in motion – some Sudanese refugees in Israel intervened, people got in contact with the individuals that held the bird, who were sent links about the work on vultures, including in Africa. The Raptors MoU (Convention for Migratory Species) was also contacted and wrote a letter to the Sudanese government point of contact.
Ohad then started to receive messages about the bird, and was later informed that T34 was released (or escaped?). We do hope that this particular bird is seen in the future, and that all this effort, and the messages sent to Africa, helped promote awareness about vultures.
This episode is also a stark reminder about the need for the Vulture Multi-species Action Plan (MsAP) – a global plan for the conservation of 15 species of African, European and Asian vultures, co-developed by the VCF and endorsed last month by the Convention for Migratory Species.