The positive news we had last spring on the record of new Griffon Vulture nests unfortunately did not last. On 21 October a young Griffon Vulture was found dead at Ai Yiannis area at Vretsia. This vulture was probably the one that was recorded as a nestling on the cliffs of the area during the usual island-wide vulture census last May.
The cause of death still remains unknown but an x-ray has excluded the possibility that the bird was shot. The Game and Fauna Service, which is the competent authority for wild birds in Cyprus, will be sending samples to experts in Israel for analysis that will shed light on the cause of death.
With this new loss the Griffon Vulture population size is now estimated to 22 birds.
The previous loss of birds was recorded between November 2015 and February 2016 when seven Griffon Vultures were found dead with the cause of death being poisoning as the use of poison bait is commonly placed in Cyprus’ countryside. Poisoning is the number one threat for vultures in Cyprus (and in other EU countries).
The illegal use of poison baits is an issue that we as a country need to deal with immediately, as our vulture population is not viable and every bird we lose is a huge step back for the species survival.