A griffon vulture equipped with a GPS device will detect cases of poisoning

Photo: Wikipedia / Stefan Krause

According to expert estimates, 120,000 to 170,000 wild birds die annually in Serbia from illegal killing, poisoning and capture. Almost all countries in the region have this problem and their local organizations are fighting it intensively. The Society for the Protection and Study of Birds of Serbia is constantly trying to protect birds in our country.

The data of this society show that in the last 20 years, 320 cases of poisoning of wild birds have been recorded throughout Serbia, and only a few perpetrators have been found and punished.

Locating a poisoned bird can be key to rescuing it, as well as preventing other animals from being poisoned. As part of the project “Balkan detox life (BalkanDetox LIFE) the first griffon vulture received a GPS (Global Positioning System) device with a very important purpose – to help detect and prevent illegal cases of wildlife poisoning in the Balkans.

This technology will enable the project team to quickly find and save poisoned vultures, and even eliminate the danger of further poisoning. At the same time, griffon vultures help in criminal proceedings by locating places of poisoning and thus reduce the scope of this harmful practice in the area of ​​seven Balkan countries.

The first griffon vulture, which received a GPS, was called Extreme because of its aggressive behavior during capture. This device was placed on him by a team from the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna (FVFF), and based on the moulting of feathers, it was concluded that it hatched in 2019.

According to the website of the Society for the Protection and Study of Birds, it originates from the Balkan population of griffon vultures.

The plans of the project team are to mark several griffon vultures in the Kresna gorge, because many birds, from Croatia, Serbia and the Republic of Northern Macedonia, use this gorge as a place where they spend the winter.

Local conservation organizations have been marking griffon vultures and other vulture species with GPS devices for years, but this is especially because of the innovative way to track illegal wildlife poisoning.

Griffon vultures are social birds, searching for food in groups and quickly discovering the corpses of animals using their amazing eyesight. This ability allows them to consume animal carcasses quickly and efficiently, which has huge environmental benefits for nature, wildlife and humans. But it also means that if a dead animal is smeared with poison, many griffon vultures can be poisoned in the same place, with only one case of poisoning.

The BalkanDetox LIFE project, implemented by the Vulture Protection Foundation (VCF), is fighting illegal wildlife poisoning in the Balkans by building capacity and raising people’s awareness of the problem. One way is to use GPS technology to track potential cases of poisoning.

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Source: Energetski portal Srbije by www.energetskiportal.rs.

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