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BirdWING (Birdwatching in Northern Greece) has been set up to raise awareness of birds in Greece and to raise money for the conservation and restoration of bird habitat in the region. Birdwing has supporters from all over the world.

 
 

The poisoning problem

Poisoning in Greece still occurs for several reasons.  

Despite being illegal, poisoned baits and carcasses are put out with the aim of killing foxes, jackals, wolves and other animals seen as a threat to livestock. Research has shown people with hunting dogs will use poison to clear foxes from an area to be used for training, to prevent the dogs being distracted. Also, local rivalries between shepherds have led to attempts by each to poison the other’s dogs.

When these events happen in the territory of a breeding pair of Egyptian Vultures the results are potentially disastrous. This is the number one threat to the continuation of the species as a Greek and, indeed, as a Balkan breeding bird.

The anti-poison dog units are part of a wider attempt to protect these endangered vultures.

The dogs detect poisoned baits and any dead animals in the area. These are immediately removed. Previously, before this work began, no authority was taking responsibility for the removal of such items, resulting in further deaths. Now the dog units record and then remove baits and carcasses as soon as they are found.  Any dead animals are collected and sent to Athens for analysis to determine whether they contain poison.

This action is vital, but is only part of the work. By finding evidence of poison quickly the perpetrators can more easily be identified. In order to ultimately stop this illegal practice, education is vital. An Anti-poison Network has been set up in these areas to educate and work on measures to remove the perceived need to put down poison. Actions such as providing electric fences in areas so that livestock holders feel their animals are more protected from wildlife have been undertaken. Binoculars have been provided to develop a greater interest in protecting the vultures and so on. This work with local people is vital in gradually dealing with the poisoning issue. However, in the meantime the sniffer-dogs are required for the immediate protection of the breeding territories of the Egyptian Vultures, given the rapidly decreasing population of the species in Greece.

Please support this vital work, if you can. Click here.


Links for further information:

For details of the Return of the Neophron Life Project and the Hellenic Ornithological Society who have spearheaded this project click here

To learn more about Kiko and Kuki click here.

For more information on Egyptian Vultures click here.

 

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