Vulture connects European and African wilderness.

Egyptian vulture hatched in Dadia National Park in Greece is wintering in Sahel region of Niger. This is his way of the life for the thousands of years. In the last few years several individuals of the Egyptian vulture are taking this long journey with a leg ring and a satellite transmitter on the back.  These individuals are tracked via satellites by scientists in the LIFE+ “The Return of the Neophron” project—a $3.4 million conservation initiative funded by the European Union.

Migration Map
Migration Map

Summer housing of Egyptian vulture in Dadia National Park is pretty safe. Local conservationists even feed them to help increase and stabilized vulture population. The story in winter is different. Vulture is flaying several hundreds kilometers to the south. Finally when he reach his winter house he is subject of intensive local hunting…

Rich people in Niger’s southern neighbour are willing to pay a lot of money for vulture body parts. They believe that keeping a vulture’s head or feather in their home would bring them an even better fortune. Some even eat their eyes and brains to obtain clairvoyant powers to, for instance, predict who to bet on for winning the World Cup…

The struggle to protect this symbol of transcontinental wilderness is unfair. The Bulgarian scientists know that the strong local tradition (to eat vulture) is further more supported by the African diaspora in England, Netherlands, and other places which still maintains traditional beliefs and may provide a market for the fetishized body parts. Importantly, these people in Europe can afford to pay a lot higher price than locals…

Further on conservationists do not have sufficient funds, though, to work remotely in Africa and so solve this problem. “Our project spends millions to protect 75 vulture couples on the Balkan peninsula,” said Nikolov, manager of the LIFE+ conservation project. “Yet there are thousands of vultures in Africa. It would be a lot more cost-effective to invest conservation funds directly there.”

Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0624-dimitrova-vulture-bird-market.html

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