Asian Regional Workshop Advances International Cooperation to Halt Drastic Declines in Old World Vulture Populations

IUCN Vulture Specialist Group signs the Raptors MOU as a Co-operating Partner

Abu Dhabi/Mumbai, 5 December 2016 - The third Regional Workshop to develop a Multi-species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP) took place from 29 to 30 November in Mumbai, India.  This Workshop covered nine of the fifteen species of Old World vultures, a term used for vultures that occur in the continents of Africa, Asia and Europe.

Drastic and widespread vulture population declines in recent years in Asia and Africa are reflected in their IUCN Red List status: the majority of species of Old World vultures are classed as ‘Critically Endangered’. They are threatened by a wide range of human activities, such as direct and indirect poisoning, habitat loss and degradation, decreased food availability, electrocution and collision with power grids and human disturbance.  This crisis is of particular concern because vultures offer critically important ecosystem services by cleaning up carcasses and other organic waste thereby inhibiting the spread of dangerous diseases.  Vultures utilize vast home ranges, frequently crossing geo-political boundaries so international cooperation is essential to their conservation.

In an effort to advance international communication, collaboration and cooperation to conserve vulture populations, the mandate to develop the Vulture MsAP under the Raptors MOU was established by CMS Parties via Resolution 11.14 in November 2014.  The mission of the Vulture MsAP is to bring together representatives of Range States, partners and interested parties, to develop a coordinated Action Plan to conserve African-Eurasian vultures.

Held in conjunction with the 6th Meeting of the Saving Asia's Vultures from Extinction (SAVE) consortium, the workshop was organized by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (UK BirdLife Partner), supported by the Bombay Natural History Society, in cooperation with the Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MOU.  The Workshop involved around 40 participants and was held immediately after the SAVE meeting to identify and exploit synergies with this existing, long-standing and successful initiative to conserve these species in the region.

During the opening ceremony, Andre Botha and Chris Bowden, co-Chairs of the Vulture Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, signed the Raptors MOU as a Cooperating Partner.

Vultures are under extreme threat from a wide range of human activities, so it's imperative that all those interested in conserving this spectacular group of birds unite to combat the huge challenges they face.  The aims of the IUCN Vulture Specialist Group align perfectly with those of the 56 Signatories to the Raptors MOU, so together we form a powerful international alliance to promote positive change for vulture populations throughout the African-Eurasian region,
said Nick P. Williams, Head of the Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MOU.

Cooperating Partners actively strive to support and promote the implementation of the MOU and its objectives.  They aim to establish joint or collaborative work plans or projects with Signatories and/or the Coordinating Unit.  Existing Co-operating Partners to the Raptors MOU are BirdLife International, the International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey, and the CMS Secretariat.


















The Workshop was the third in a series of four regional meetings that are being held across the African-Eurasian region.  These interactive gatherings aim to engage government representatives, specialist researchers and other stakeholders to collect and elaborate information about the species present in the respective regions, the particular threats they face and the drivers behind them, in order to develop a comprehensive Vulture MsAP.  Previous venues have been Senegal and Spain, and the fourth and final Regional Workshop is scheduled to be held in early February 2017 in the United Arab Emirates, in conjunction with the 18th annual Arabian Biodiversity Workshop hosted by the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) of the Emirate of Sharjah.

A final Overarching Workshop is also being planned in February 2017 – more details will follow soon.  For any inquiries related to the Vulture MsAP please contact the Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MOU

Last updated on 15 January 2017

Habitat loss and degradation
Human Disturbance
Aegypius monachus
Gypaetus barbatus
Gyps bengalensis
Gyps fulvus
Gyps himalayensis
Gyps indicus
Gyps tenuirostris
Neophron percnopterus
Sarcogyps calvus