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Three more Griffon Vultures tagged and released in Messolonghi will help combat illegal wildlife poisoning in the Balkans

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Three more Griffon Vultures were recently equipped with a GPS transmitter and were released in Messolonghi within the BalkanDetox LIFE project. All birds received names of heroes who played an important role in the Greek Revolution to honour the 200th anniversary, in an initiative led by the Management Body of Mesolonghi Lagoon – Akarnanika Mountains to connect nature conservation with history and culture, which are inextricably linked elements of the local heritage.

Tagging and releasing three Griffon Vultures in Messolonghi 

In an environment full of threats, such as illegal wildlife poisoning, high-voltage pylons, wind turbines, lead poisoning and poaching, only a few Griffon Vulture colonies survived on mainland Greece. Today, local and international stakeholders implement several actions to preserve the remaining population. Recently, after two months of acclimatisation in a specially designed cage of adaptation managed by the Management Body of Mesolonghi Lagoon – Akarnanika Mountains in Arakynthos, three more Griffon Vultures were tagged and released on 9 April — Ioannis, namedin honour of Ioannis Papadiamantopoulos, Eleni, in honour of Eleni Staikos, and Altani, in honour of Altana or Altani Igglezou Mayer. 

Within the BalkanDetox LIFE project, an innovative initiative aims to coordinate the monitoring of these marked Griffon Vultures together with other vultures from the Balkan population, surveilling all important vulture colonies in the Balkans to help track poisoning cases fast, save vultures and prosecute wildlife criminals. Not only do these birds contribute to the conservation of their own species, but at the same time, their names carry powerful messages of freedom, solidarity and cooperation, necessary for the preservation of the natural heritage.

BalkanDetox LIFE

The ‘BalkanDetox LIFE‘ project aims to strengthen national capacities to fight wildlife poisoning and raise awareness about the problem in Balkan countries. It is a five-year endeavour with a €1.8 million budget, which aims to raise awareness and strengthen national capacities to fight the problem of wildlife poisoning across Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, the Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia. It received funding from the EU’s LIFE Programme, and it is co-financed by the Vulture Conservation Foundation, the MAVA Foundation and Euronatur, as well as by the Whitley Fund for Nature and Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund for specific actions. Project partners are the Vulture Conservation Foundation as the coordinating beneficiary, and the Albanian Ornithological SocietyAssociation BIOMBird Protection and Study Society of SerbiaFund for Wild Flora and FaunaHellenic Ornithological SocietyMacedonian Ecological SocietyOrnitološko društvo NAŠE Ptice and the Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania as associated beneficiaries. Furthermore, this project is based on Spanish best practice experience and counts with the support from the Junta de Andalucía and the Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge.

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