Vultures are under extreme pressure from a range of human activities. Drastic and widespread vulture population declines in recent years in Asia and Africa are reflected by the IUCN Red List status: the majority of species of Old World Vultures are now considered ‘Critically Endangered’.
Vultures are threatened by a wide array 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 provide critically important ecosystem services by cleaning up carcasses and other organic waste in the environment, thus reducing the spread of dangerous diseases such as anthrax and rabies – resulting in highly significant economic and human health benefits. Vultures utilize vast home ranges, frequently crossing geo-political boundaries and so international cooperation is essential to their conservation.
In 2017, CMS Parties adopted the Vulture Multi-species Action Plan (Vulture MsAP) providing a strategic conservation plan covering the geographic ranges (128 states) of all 15 species of migratory African-Eurasian ("Old World") vultures and promoting concerted, collaborative and coordinated international actions to save vultures species from further decline and extinction.
In 2020, the Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MOU published the first version of the Vulture MsAP Strategic Implementation Plan at CMS COP13 in Gandhinagar, India. The Plan contains an inventory of vulture conservation activities to date and provides a roadmap of concrete priorities for delivering the agreed framework of the Vulture MsAP, a signpost to relevant cooperation opportunities, and added impetus for mobilizing resources and support.
Vulture MsAP Documents
The complete Vulture MsAP and related documents are available here. Documents include:
If you wish to provide funding to support the implementation of the Vulture MsAP, please contact the Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MOU.
In November 2014, CMS Parties gathered at COP11 in Ecuador adopted CMS Resolution 11.14 Programme of Work on Migratory Birds and Flyways, which established the mandate to develop a Multi-species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP) under the auspices of the CMS Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MOU). The mission was to bring together representatives of Range States, partners and interested parties to develop a coordinated Action Plan for submission to CMS COP12, scheduled to be held in October 2017.
The overall aim was to develop a comprehensive strategic Action Plan covering the whole geographic ranges (128 countries) of 15 species of Old World vultures to promote concerted and collaborative international conservation actions. The proposed objectives of the Vulture MsAP included:
Four regional workshops were held in 2016 - 2017 to gather detailed information on vulture species distribution, population sizes and trends, as well as a better understanding of the threats and associated drivers, and the conservation measures required to address them. The African Regional Workshop was held in October 2016 in Senegal and was co-organised by BirdLife International; the European Regional Workshop was held in late October 2016 in Spain and was co-organised by the Vulture Conservation Foundation; the Asian Regional Workshop was held in late November 2016 in Mumbai, India and was co-organised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; and the Middle East Regional Workshop was held in early February 2017 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates and was co-organised with the Environment and Protected Areas Authority of the Emirate of Sharjah.
The Overarching Workshop to develop the Vulture MsAP took place mid-February 2017 in Toledo, Spain, at the kind invitation of the Regional Government of Castilla-La Mancha. This concluding workshop reviewed the first consolidated draft of the Vulture MsAP, incorporating the four regional components, elaborated certain key strategic components of the MsAP which had not been collectively considered at the Regional Workshops, and engendered and developed multi-lateral support.
A month-long public consultation exercise on the second draft of the Vulture MsAP was launched in March 2017, with the purpose to reach out even further to invite comments and improvements from anyone who recognizes the importance of vultures and the critical need to conserve them. All comments received during the consultation period were reviewed and, where appropriate, integrated into a final draft of the Vulture MsAP, which was formally submitted to the CMS Secretariat on 24 May 2017.
At COP12, held in Manila, Philippines on 23 - 28 October 2017, the Vulture MsAP was adopted by CMS Parties
About the Vulture MsAP and vulture conservation across Europe.
Produced by The Vulture Conservation Foundation, 2019
About the poisoning of vultures (click image below).
Produced by The Peregrine Fund, 2019
About the vulture crisis in West Africa, the vulture's role in nature, threats to vultures
and best practices to adopt in vulture conservation (also available in French).
Produced by NATURAMA, in collaboration with the Laboratory of Animal Biology and Ecology (LEBA).
The story of Bearded Vulture BG1055 - what is takes to breed chicks in captivity
Produced by The Vulture Conservation Foundation, 2020
Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction
Produced by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, 2014
The Vulture MsAP Steering Group aims to oversee, guide and promote the overall implementation of the Vulture Multi-species Action Plan. Steering group members meet virtually on a regular basis to discuss actions to advance the implementation of the Action Plan. Recent activities coordinated by the steering group are outlined below.
Funding is urgently required from CMS Parties to support efforts to coordinate effective implementation of the CMS Vulture MsAP over the next decade. The Vulture MsAP Steering Group is currently functioning on a largely voluntary basis, which severely limits its activies and outputs. Please contact the Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MOU should you be interested to contribute funds to support the implementation of the Vulture MsAP. Concrete funding opportunities are outlined in the Vulture MsAP Strategic Implementation Plan.
The members of the steering group are listed below.
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|Andre Botha||Acting Overarching Coordinator|
|Asia||Chris Bowden||Acting Regional Coordinator for Asia|
|Europe||Jovan Andevski||Acting Regional Coordinator for Europe|
|José Tavares||Partner, Vulture Conservation Foundation|
|Roger Safford||Partner, BirdLife International|
|Nicola Crockford||CMS-BirdLife Liaison Officer|
|Middle East||Saudi Arabia||Mohammed Shobrak||Member|
|Europe||Bulgaria||Stoyan Nicolov||Member (Lead for Egyptian Vulture Flyway Action Plan)|
|Africa||Ghana||Nana Kofi Adu-Nsiah||Member|
|Asia||Pakistan||Naeem Ashraf Raja||Member|
|Fernando Spina||Chair of CMS Scientific Council|
|Edward van Asch||CITES Secretariat|
|Ivan Ramirez||EuroSAP Project|
|(Head of Avian Team)||CMS Secretariat (Head of CMS Avian Species Team)|
|(Programme Officer)||CMS Secretariat (Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MOU)|
|Sofi Hinchliffe||CMS Secretariat (Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MOU)|
|Africa||Rebecca Garbett||Acting Regional Coordinator for Africa|