Vulture MsAP: Regional Workshop in the Middle East to Develop Conservation Strategies for Improving the Population Status of Old World Vultures

Sharjah/Abu Dhabi, 12 February 2017 – The fourth of a series of regional workshops to develop a Multi-species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP) took place from 6 to 9 February in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The workshop was held as a part of the 18th Sharjah International Conservation Forum for Arabian Biodiversity (SICFAB), at the generous invitation of the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) of Sharjah.

In the Middle East, vultures are threatened mainly by poisoning, lack of food, and human disturbance.  These scavengers contribute significantly to the well-being of ecosystems by cleaning up organic waste in the environment.  Due to their extensive geographic ranging behavior, they frequently cross over States’ borders, irrespective of geo-political boundaries.  Consequently, international cooperation is of crucial importance in order to develop urgently needed concerted actions to work jointly towards improving their conservation status.

“We are developing a comprehensive action plan covering 15 species of Old World vultures throughout their ranges which extends to over 120 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe, based on the mandate from CMS Resolution 11.14.  The overall aim is to halt the current vulture population declines, and to restore each species’ conservation status to a favourable level.”

Nick P. Williams, Head of the Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MOU

Hosting the Vulture MsAP Regional Workshop as part of SICFAB created a unique opportunity to capitalize on EPAA's conservation leadership in the region over the last 18 years.  Vulture conservation cannot be undertaken successfully without collaboration with specialists of many other disciplines such as managers and rangers of protected areas and veterinary surgeons.  Being an integral part of SICFAB has enabled adoption of a more holistic approach to the development of the Vulture MsAP. 

“The Middle East is extremely important for vultures for two reasons: it hosts important breeding populations of two species and it serves as a flyway for the migratory species.  Many vultures originating from Europe and Asia migrate through the Middle East ever year.”

Dr. Jose Tavares, Director of the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) 

The workshop in Sharjah focused on five species, two of which (Egyptian Vulture and Lappet-faced Vulture) are already classified as ‘Endangered’ by the IUCN Red List of threatened species, and two (Cinereous and Bearded Vulture) are listed as “Near Threatened”.

A concluding Overarching Workshop is scheduled is taking place 16 to 19 February in Toledo, Spain. Incorporating all four regional components as well as already existing single species Flyway and Action Plans, the primary aims of this forthcoming gathering are to review the first draft of the Vulture MsAP; elaborate certain key strategic components of the project; and to engender and develop multi-lateral support for the Vulture MsAP, including implementation over the next ten years.

For any inquiries related to the Vulture MsAP please contact the Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MOU.

Last updated on 16 February 2017

Type: 
News item
Country: 
United Arab Emirates
Region: 
Asia
Species: 
Aegypius monachus
Gypaetus barbatus
Gyps africanus
Gyps bengalensis
Gyps coprotheres
Gyps fulvus
Gyps himalayensis
Gyps indicus
Gyps rueppelli
Gyps tenuirostris
Necrosyrtes monachus
Neophron percnopterus
Sarcogyps calvus
Torgos tracheliotos
Trigonoceps occipitalis
Species group: 
Birds