Feasibility study for reinforcing the Eurasian Griffon Vulture population in Greece

April 9, 2024
Categories: Announcements

A study of critical importance regarding the future of the Eurasian Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) in continental Greece has been conducted in the framework of the LIFE-IP 4 NATURA program and is available via the program website.

This is a feasibility study regarding the population reinforcement of Gyps fulvus in Greece, which was prepared by the expert researcher – ornithologist Dr. Stavros Xirouhakis (Natural History Museum of Crete – University of Crete).

The study thoroughly examines all available data for the specific species in the country (population, ecology, biology) and assesses the feasibility of implementing a programme to reinforce the population while, on the other hand, determines the conditions that must be met so that the reinforcement actions have the greatest possible outcome and also be compatible with international conservation standards.

The main results of the study are reflected in the following points:


  • The analysis of the demographic data shows that the reinforcement of the vulture population in continental Greece is feasible, due to its very small size (less than 50 breeding pairs).
  • The donor population is suggested to be that of Crete, due to geographical and genetic affinity: the study concludes that a small number of young vultures, from the “reservoir” of birds that end up in care centers for short hospitalization, may be released in continental Greece without threatening the relatively stable situation of the Cretan population. In any case, a systematic monitoring of the population is necessary, so that any possible changes may be observed and the whole action may be reviewed.
  • The areas of continental Greece that meet the criteria for the release of vultures are located mainly in mountainous Western Greece. A basic condition is that in the release areas there are measurable results of limiting the main threats for the species (such as the use of poisoned baits and the installation of wind farms), while in certain areas there must be proximity with active colonies of the species. Of course, also necessary conditions are the existence of appropriate infrastructure (acclimatization cage, supportive food supply area) and the scientific and technical support of the action.
  • The released individuals will be monitored remotely via satellite transmitters but also on site, in order to assess their condition and degree of adaptation to the existing population. The monitoring data will feed into the evaluation of the whole project and the modifications that may possibly be required.

Based on the Feasibility Study, the programme for reinforcing the continental vulture population is already underway in the LIFE-IP 4 NATURA project, with releases such as the recent one on Mount Arakynthos in Aetoloakarnania, which is a continuation of the previous pilot releases by the Management Unit (former Agency) of Messolonghi Lagoon.

Source: Hellenic Ornithological Society