The Balkan component of the project involves creating vulture safe zones (free of poison and providing sufficient and safe food) and developing the capacity and infrastructure to deploy restocking programme, needed to make the shift from the currently dwindling to a vital population. Prior to and in parallel with the restocking programme development the project will actively lobby with national institutions to ensure the necessary of the regulations and work with local authorities of rural settlements to encourage the establishment of controlled carcass dumps. Deliberate poising is still an issue for all Balkan countries, hence the aim to replicate the successful Greek experience in networking among institutions, groups of stakeholders, individuals affected towards creating a Balkan anti-poison network; to eliminate accidental poisoning the project will lobby to discourage use of hazardous agriculture chemicals (reduce agriculture subsidies to violators) and veterinary drugs (ban diclofenac use and encourage use of alternatives).
The Fly-way component of the project will tackle the urgent activities postulated in the International Action Plan. Unfortunately large parts of the Middle East (Lebanon, Syria, and Iran) and African (Chad, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Niger) range countries are war conflict theatre. The project strategy is therefore to secure transfer of experience and build capacity in the safest possible territories – Ethiopia, Chad, Nigeria and Niger, and work with the most stable possible local players (governmental or non-governmental).
The main goals involve:
- Reduction of loss of individuals due to electrocution at the main roosting sites in Ethiopia;
- Piloting actions to eliminate use of strychnine or other poisons affecting birds to control rabies at key congregation sites in Ethiopia and Chad;
- Develop local capacity to combat use of birds in traditional 'religious' ceremonies (Nigeria); and
- Enhancing local capacity to combat illegal killing of birds (Middle East)
The large scale tailored awareness raising and information campaign built into the project will comprise several distinctive clusters specifically designed to meet the expectation needs of key target stakeholders and audiences identified on the basis of stakeholder assessment, marketing study to position the project communication and information strategy.
The possible clusters include:
- Capacity building for local institutions through seminars involving practical field work;
- Communicate the main threats for the vulture based on country specific messages targeted at the particular local audiences generating the threat (poisoning, shooting, belief-based use, etc.)
- International campaign to promote the Egyptian vulture to through serial happenings at major airports along the flyway comprising painting of murals and eye-to-eye talking to people at the airports (could be combined with fundraising, petition signing, etc.)
- Training for local communities to ensure uptake of the vulture safe techniques and practices (change of veterinary drugs, use of strychnine or agriculture chemicals alternatives, strengthen law enforcement, veterinary proposed).