As part of the LIFE GYPHELP project, in which the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) is a partner, the VCF, ASTERS and the FDC74 (Hunting Federation for Haute-Savoie) organized a one day seminar in Annecy at the end of September 2015 to discuss current knowledge and best practices on the issue of lead poisoning, with the aim to develop recommendations to minimize this threat in the project area (French Alps).
During the last few years, several cases of lead poisoning have been reported on vultures in the Alps, including on Bearded Vultures – this maybe in fact the only current significant threat affecting this population. We know from the literature that there is a general presence of heavy metals in the Apine environment (either natural or increased by human-generated pollution), but there is plenty of evidence that the main source of the lead in the cases of Bearded Vulture poisoning comes from lead ammunition used in hunting activities across the Alps.
To tackle this threat, important stakeholders united to exchange information on the results of mitigation solutions used elsewhere, develop actions plans to tackle the threat and improve knowledge about this issue.
The seminar gathered on one side the European experts working on this issue from the surrounding areas/countries (Switzerland, Italy and Germany), staff from other relevant LIFE projects (involving lead poisoning actions), and all the project stakeholders: the national offices of hunting and wildlife, hunting federations and the “Vigilance Poison Plan in France” working group.