The Project GYPAS for protecting and enhancing the population of Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) in Cyprus, under the Cross-Border Cooperation Programme Greece - Cyprus 2007-2013 ran from September 2011 until January 2014.
During the project, 25 vultures from Crete were brought to Cyprus, to strengthen the Cypriot population which had reached as few as 10 birds in the wild. The birds stayed in rehabilitation cages built under the project in order to prepare them for release and the last birds were released in the wild in February 2015.
The project aimed at strengthening the vulture population in Cyprus, as in the last decades its numbers had decreased considerably, putting it in immediate danger of extinction. This became possible with the introduction of birds from Crete, which were housed in cages especially built for them, while the project also included various public awareness actions to increase awareness amongst the pupils and citizens and highlight how they can help. Finally, detailed monitoring of the existing population took place.
The population of the Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) in Cyprus has been declining rapidly over the past 20 years. During the 1960s, the population consisted of at least 100 individuals, but a Vulture population census which took place in March 2011 and which covered 14 locations in the south-west of the island, showed that the total Vulture population in Cyprus that currently lived in the wild was only between 6-8 birds. Compared to the Cypriot population, the Vulture population of Crete is over 400 individuals.
Griffon Vulture © A. Stoecker