Report Highlights Urgent Need to Step Up Actions for Vultures in Africa and Eurasia

Abu Dhabi, 1 March 2024 - The much-anticipated Mid-Term Implementation Review of the 12-Year Vulture Multispecies Action Plan (Vulture MsAP) has been completed, revealing crucial insights into the current state of vulture populations in Africa and Eurasia.

Designed in 2017 to address the pressing threats facing these majestic birds, the Vulture MsAP aims to ensure their survival and promote their recovery across 128 countries in Africa-Eurasia. However, the latest review underscores the urgent need for intensified efforts to counter ongoing challenges and emerging threats to vultures.

Persistent Threats and Emerging Challenges

Despite concerted conservation efforts, the overall threat affecting vultures has remained largely unchanged. However, the review has brought to light several concerning developments:

  • Intentional poisoning and hunting for belief-based use, bushmeat consumption, and trade have emerged as more severe problems, particularly in West Africa. This alarming trend necessitates immediate action to mitigate these detrimental practices.
  • The global shift towards renewable energy sources, alongside the expansion of wind farm development, poses an escalating collision risk for vultures. Additionally, mortality from electrocution is on the rise, partly attributed to the global transition to renewable energy.
  • While the decline in food availability for vultures in certain parts of Europe appears less significant, it underscores the importance of recent interventions aimed at mitigating this threat.

Emerging Issues

The review also highlights emerging challenges for vultures that demand urgent attention. Climate change, recognized as a multifaceted threat, poses significant risks to vulture populations through various avenues. Furthermore, the outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza poses a grave threat to critically endangered and endangered vulture species already under pressure from existing threats.

Rouba Abou Atieh, Executive Coordinator of the CMS Office – Abu Dhabi commented: “The Raptors MOU is leading the way in coordinating the efforts to conserve this crucial group of animals and to help governments deliver on the international commitments. Monitoring the implementation of the Vulture Action Plan is a fundamental tool to target the most important threats in an evolving world.”

African White-backed Vultures © Andre Botha

Umberto Gallo-Orsi, Head of the Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MOU: “Vultures are the most threatened group of raptors. Out of the 15 species covered by the Plan, eight are Critically Endangered, two as Endangered and only one is classified as Least Concern. Vultures provide crucial ecosystem services including reducing the risk of spreading diseases and the emission of climate-altering gasses. The Mid Term Review provides an important insight into where we need to focus our attention and resources to address current and emerging threats.” 

Andre’ Botha, chair of the CMS Vulture Working Group and the lead author of the review added: “The increased number of research papers published since the publications of the Vulture MsAP is a testimony of how much the plan has raised the researchers and conservationist’s attention on this imperilled group of raptors and of the increased research and conservations capacity, but more needs to be done to reach the plan’s target”. 

Positive Signs and Recommendations

Despite the challenges, there are signs of progress, particularly in Europe and South Asia, where vulture populations are slowly recovering. Key factors contributing to this success include adequate conservation legislation, proactive engagement from government organizations, NGOs, and research institutions, and significant funding allocations for conservation actions.

However, the review indicates that the implementation of the Action Plan falls below expectations. Major impediments include a lack of funding, capacity, and political will. To address these challenges and accelerate progress, several recommendations have been proposed in the report:

  1. Strengthen political engagement and improve financial support from Range State governments and major donor institutions.
  2. Enhance capacity for implementing conservation actions, including the development of skilled staff and management systems.
  3. Focus on the implementation of the 11 actions identified as essential in the Action Plan.
  4. Support the establishment of the Implementation Framework proposed by the Vulture Multispecies Action Plan.
  5. Continue facilitating the Vulture Working Group and monitoring the Action Plan's progress.
  6. Commence the review and update of the Action Plan before its expiration in October 2029 to ensure continuity and momentum.

Call to Action

The findings of the Mid-Term Implementation Review underscore the need for intensified international efforts to safeguard vultures worldwide. Urgent action is required to address persistent threats, tackle emerging challenges, and ensure the long-term viability of these vital avian species and the ecosystems they inhabit. Countries and all relevant stakeholders must upscale their commitment to saving the world’s vultures for future generations.



The Mid-Term Implementation Review of the Multi-Species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP)

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Last updated on 07 March 2024