The LIFE Egyptian vulture project aims to improve the conservation of the Egyptian vulture in Italy and in the Canary Islands by implementing not only measures to mitigate the impact of the negative factors affecting the species, but also direct actions to promote its demographic recovery and expansion.
Project areas: Italy (Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily) and Spain (Canary Islands: Fuerteventura and Lanzarote)
Coordinating beneficiary: e-distribuzione
Associated beneficiaries: Endesa distribución, Ferderparchi-Europarc Italia, Gesplan, Gobierno de Canarias, ISPRA, Regione Basilicata, Regione Puglia
Durata: 01/10/2017 – 30/09/2022
EC contribution: 3,813,146 (75%)
Beneficiaries’ contribution: €1,271,459 (25%)
Egyptian vulture numbers have decreased by more than 80% in the last 50 years Italy, and the species is on the verge of extinction. Its reproductive population is confined to three regions of southern Italy (Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily), in which there are about 12 breeding pairs.
The Canary islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are home to a non-migratory endemic subspecies, N. percnopterus majorensis, which is of high conservation value (locally called “guirre“). The population is increasing but “human-related” mortality factors are negatively affecting its demographics. Furthermore, there are relatively few pairs (73) and these are concentrated on the island of Fuerteventura.
This situation makes it necessary and urgent to undertake the comprehensive series of concrete actions envisaged by the LIFE Egyptian vulture project which, among others, includes: Surveillance of nesting sites, construction and management of feeding stations, work on power lines (on supports that can cause electrocution to the detriment of the species), activities to combat the illegal use of poison, ex-situ reproduction and the release of individuals born in captivity.
Moreover, monitoring the populations of Egyptian vultures in Italy and the Canary Islands will increase knowledge about the limiting factors of population dynamics, which are useful for defining the best protection and support strategies.
Furthermore, the project allows the creation of a permanent network between various European organisations to promote the sharing and dissemination of good practices for the preservation of the Egyptian vulture.