A conference on “Guirre Canario” told the story, problems and prospects of the Egyptian vulture in the Canaries

A public conference on “guirre canario”, the endemic subspecies of Egyptian vulture that lives in the Islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, was held on 12 December 2019 in Teguise, Island of Lanzarote (Canaries).

The conference on “guirre”

The interesting presentation was held by the expert José Antonio Donázar, Professor at the Departamento de Biología de la Conservación of the Estación Biológica de Doñana – Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.

The event, entitled “The conservation of the guirre in the Canaries. Current situation and prospects for the future”, was organized thanks to the collaboration between the LIFE Egyptian vulture project, the Asociacion Medioambiental Viento del Noroeste, the Municipality of Teguise and the Cabildo of Lanzarote and has recorded the presence of a large audience consisting of a hundred people.

Prof. Donázar, who has been monitoring the species for many years on behalf of the Gobierno de Canarias, supported by numerous colleagues who work both in the field and in data processing, explained how the state of guirre has significantly improved in the last two decades: after a progressive collapse that had led the guirre to disappear from three islands of the archipelago and to survive only in Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, counting only 23 territories, the situation has gradually improved so much that in 2019,  77 territories were surveyed (for the vast majority located in Fuerteventura).

This fundamental change was determined by targeted conservation interventions carried out by the Gobierno de Canarias, first of all those of modification of the power lines to avoid the problem of hooking the animals’legs on anti-vibration devices placed on the cables and reducing the phenomenon of electrocution(the latter is part of the LIFE Egyptian vulture project too).

Prof. José Antonio Donázar during the conference

The increase in the population, however, is offset by low productivity from the causes that are not yet well known and the presence of threatening factors such as electrocution, illegal use of poison and expansion of wind power plants.

Conference’s audience

It is therefore appropriate to continue on the virtuous road taken by Gobierno de Canarias, which provides for population monitoring, mortality reduction measures and support actions (such as the management of supplementary power stations).

Life Egyptian Vulture