Balkandetox life

Strengthening national capacities to fight wildlife poisoning and raise awareness about the problem across seven Balkan countries

Initiative period2020-2025
Initiative areaAlbania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia
Target speciesCinereous Vulture, Egyptian Vulture Griffon Vulture

Although illegal, poison bait use in the countryside is still widespread, severely threatening nature, wildlife, and public health across the Balkan Peninsula and beyond. The most common motive behind this harmful practice is the intentional placement of poison baits to kill wild predators or other feral and domestic animals that may inflict damages on livestock or game species. But this non-selective method of extirpating animals also kills protected and vulnerable species, causing population declines and preventing the comeback of certain wildlife. Vultures, being mostly obligate scavengers, often fall victim to wildlife poisoning, either by directly consuming the bait or feeding on poisoned animals' carcasses. A lot of progress has been made to tackle illegal wildlife poisoning in the Balkans, thanks to conservation projects. Now, with the launch of the ambitious BalkanDetox LIFE project, nine organizations will work together to fight this threat by raising awareness and strengthening national capacities across Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, the Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia.

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vultures are estimated to have died from poisoning in the Balkans over the last 20 years

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE TARGET SPECIES

Funded by the EU’s LIFE Programme, the Vulture Conservation Foundation, the MAVA Foundation and Euronatur, the project is a five-year endeavour with a €1.8 million budget that aims to build capacities, raise awareness, enhance collaborations and reduce poisoning incidents to fight this serious threat in the Balkans head-on.

Through a series of workshops, meetings, training courses and a small grants programme the Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project is supporting the development of governmental authorities’ and wildlife organisations’ understanding, skills and capacity to fight against illegal wildlife poisoning and take positive steps to protect vultures.

BUILD CAPACITIES

Secure real and continued engagement of the relevant national governmental authorities in the region against illegal wildlife poisoning by increasing their capacity and formalizing national anti- poisoning working groups in each project country to improve the management of poisoning incidents and achieve significant mortality reduction of species affected.

© Junta de Andalucía

RAISE AWARENESS

Bridge knowledge gaps relating to the use of illegal poison baits and its adverse impacts on wildlife to the key target audience, labelling the practice as a socially unacceptable behaviour in the general public’s eyes. The project will also aim to introduce preventive measures for human-wildlife conflict, as safe alternatives to poison use in areas known as hotspots for wildlife poisoning.

© AOS

GRIFFON VULTURE GPS MONITORING

In a cross-border initiative, the BalkanDetox LIFE team will within the auspices of the project tag 25 Griffon Vultures from the Balkan population and incorporate existing GPS data of already tagged birds to intensively monitor their behaviour, helping track poisoning incidents, save poisoned wildlife and prosecute wildlife criminals.

© FWFF

WILDLIFE CRIME ACADEMY

Competent authorities from the Balkans will participate in a series of ambitious and intense official anti-poison training courses within the Wildlife Crime Academy based in Spain, building capacities to effectively investigate, manage and tackle illegal wildlife poisoning incidents across seven Balkan countries.

© WCA/ VCF
Logos BalkanDetox LIFE partners funders

BalkanDetox LIFE

Strengthening national capacities to fight wildlife poisoning and raise awareness about the problem across seven Balkan countries
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