The Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvis) have been faring rather badly in Cyprus in recent decades. Lanate poisoning (used in an attempt to kill off wild dogs), lead shot from hunters, and lack of food have reduced the number of vultures in Cyprus to only about a dozen or so birds – I’m not sure the exact number at present – near Episkopi on the south of the island. During part of the year at least, they rely on the leftover meat disposed of by two or three restaurants in that area, as I’ve heard it.
So it seems as welcome news to hear of a vote in the European Parliament on 24th April to put dead meat, or carrion, back on the menu for Europe’s hungry vultures. From BirdLife Cyprus: Dead animals back on the menu for vultures:
BirdLife International and BirdLife Cyprus welcome the vote in the European Parliament on 24th April to put dead meat, or carrion, back on the menu for Europe’s hungry vultures. Vultures, known as nature’s cleaners, are capable of stripping a dead cow or sheep carcass in a matter of hours. They have been starving since EU rules forced all dead livestock to be cleared right away in the countryside. The vote is also seen as good news for Cyprus’ critically endangered population of Griffon Vultures Gyps fulvus.
Although Cyprus has been granted an exemption under which allows carcasses to be provided for vultures at feeding stations or vulture ‘restaurants’ – as currently operates in the Vretchia area of Paphos – now Cypriot shepherds can also leave dead animals where they lie. This can only be a positive development for Cyprus’ highly endangered Vulture population. Less than 15 birds are thought to remain and BirdLife Cyprus is working with the authorities on an urgently needed rescue plan.