(Birdwatch UK, 21 Feb 2017)
Some 43 experts from 22 countries have met in Toledo, Spain, to draw up a strategy to save the world’s heavily threatened vulture species.
The meeting was part of preparations for the forthcoming summit of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species. Based on previous consultations and workshops that include the findings of 200 experts, the group in Toledo has expressed their deep concerns about the continued veterinary use of diclofenac, a deadly drug when consumed by vultures, and designed a 12-year action plan which aims to ensure the conservation of all vulture species.
There are 23 vulture species in the world and 16 of them are globally threatened: four Asian species and four African are critically endangered. The conservation of vultures will play a prominent role in the forthcoming summit of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) that will be held in October 2017 in the Philippines.
The meeting in Toledo is the result of a process involving 200 experts from Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Thanks to these previous findings, the participants in Toledo could agree to propose the inclusion of 10 species of African and Asian vultures in Appendix 1 of the Convention on Migratory Species, also known as Bonn Convention, which highlights the true threat level of these birds and reflects their real conservation needs at global level.
The species in the highest threat category are Red-headed, White-rumped, Indian and Slender-billed Vultures in Asia and Rüppell’s, White-headed, White-backed and Hooded Vultures in Africa. The proposed action plan includes more than 100 actions to address the main threats to vulture populations, including a ban on the use of toxic products that affect vultures – including poisoned baits – and the phasing out of lead ammunition.