Poisoning threatens Vulture Populations in the Balkans

In the last twenty years at least 465 vultures in the Balkans have fallen victim to poisoning. This is the alarming conclusion of a study which has investigated the cases of vultures poisoned in the Balkans. The reality is that the figure for unreported cases must be significantly higher.

Poisoned griffon vulture - one of countless victims

© Hristo Peshev/FWFF

Although the Balkan peninsula is home to all four species of European vulture, there are serious concerns, to a greater or lesser degree according to species, about their population levels. As well as the dangers of collision with electric power lines and the lack of food because of the decrease in cattle farming, it is poisoning that is one of the main reasons for the decline in vulture populations. These are the findings of a study published by several conservation organisations on 23rd November.

Scientists investigated the cases of poisoning over the last two decades, during which 465 vultures have died of the consequences of poisoning. On the assumption that only 20% of cases have been discovered or reported, scientists project that the actual number of fatalities is significantly higher, namely around 2300.

The poison occurs above all in the form of bait, which is put down by farmers and hunters in order to destroy populations of wolves, jackals and wild dogs. As carrion feeders, the vultures also fall victim to this insidious method of killing. Such high losses in vulture numbers may represent a fatal setback for the populations of these rare birds of prey, as they take a long time to recover, despite the rigorous conservation efforts and reintroduction projects.

In order to resolve this problem in the Balkan states, the study recommends a series of measures, one of which is much stricter law enforcement. Above all, there must be an increased awareness that poisoned bait will risk causing unintended victims amongst the vulture population.

How you can help


Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please use your possibilities to help. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to a more livable environment.

Sustaining membership

EuroNatur focuses on long-term nature conservation projects instead of quick fixes. With your regular donations, you give us the planning security we need.


Skavica mega dam: Albanian court to scrutinise special law for U.S. contractor Bechtel

++ Constitutional complaint filed by NGOs accepted for trial ++ First milestone in fight against one of Europe’s largest reservoirs ++ Thousands of…

Growing opposition to Albanian airport

++ Bern Convention calls on Albania to stop airport construction near Narta Lagoon ++ Project in Vjosa Delta endangers thousands of migratory birds ++…

EU Commission targets the wolf

Ursula von der Leyen warns of allegedly "dangerous wolves" - nature conservation organisations criticise misleading statements and dubious data…

Romanian forests: EuroNatur calls for a logging moratorium

+++ Open letter to Commissioner Sinkevičius calls for a logging moratorium in protected areas to end destruction of Romanian forests +++ Fourth…

Controversial airport construction in Albanian protected area casts shadow as far as Munich

++ Operating company Munich Airport International (MAI) is linked to illegal Vlora airport ++ Construction to take place in protected area of special…

Swimming for the monk seal

The Croatian free water swimmer Dina Levačić has been swimming in potential monk seal territories. Her campaign is aimed at drawing attention to the…

Wolf Offspring confirmed in the Black Forest

++ Photo trap image from the community of Schluchsee provides evidence of offspring ++ First wolf pack in over 150 years in Baden-Württemberg ++

Stork Village meeting in Tykocin, Poland

It was an anniversary celebrated in style: For the 20th annual meeting, representatives of the European Stork Villages met for the first time in the…

A slight sigh of relief for the Dalmatian pelicans

The Dalmatian pelicans at Lake Skadar are breeding successfully. This is all the more gratifying because last year's breeding season was disastrous.

Learning to live with bears

Preventing conflicts between people and wild animals

Urgent Call for Action to Protect Romania's Forests and Natura 2000 Sites

A recent report by EuroNatur and Agent Green provides new evidence on logging in Romania's protected areas. Nature conservation organisations call for…

Airport construction threatens Albanian bird paradise

++ Construction work for airport in Narta Lagoon continues unabated despite significant protests ++ Resting area is internationally important for…

Disappointing results of last trilogue on Renewable Energy Directive

++ Woody biomass and hydropower can continue to count towards renewable energy targets ++ No will for sustainable climate policy in the EU in sight ++

Major success: River Vjosa becomes National Park

++ Today the Vjosa River in Albania has been proclaimed Europe’s first Wild River National Park ++ EuroNatur, Riverwatch and many other partners have…

More Ski Resorts Planned Around Syvdovets

In 2016, the Transcarpathian Regional State Administration announced its plans to build a ski resort of the same name in the Svydovets mountain…