Israel throws multi-million lifeline to save its vanishing vulture

Nature and Parks Authority plan includes establishment of feeding stations for the endangered species and removing carcasses intentionally poisoned by farmers to deter predators
Vultures poisoned in the south of the country
(Video: Eyal Ben Giat, Nature and Parks Authority)

The Nature and Parks Authority has allocated NIS $28.5 million ($7.4 million) to restore Israel's dwindling vulture population as part of a four-year program in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Ministry aimed at conserving birds of prey and preventing poisoning attempts against them.
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The decline in the country's vulture population is primarily due to poisoning incidents. In one notable case from the fall of 2021, 14 vultures were found dead in a single event in the Negev, which hosts about 7% of Israel's eagle population. Despite the existence of multiple nesting and breeding sites, the vulture population has not only failed to increase but has also seen a reduction in the number of nests in the wild.
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Vultures are endangered in Israel
(Photo: Gil Nechushtan)
The plan to protect the vultures involves setting up feeding stations and removing poisoned carcasses and hazardous waste from their habitats. This will be accomplished by implementing a system for the safe disposal of farm animal carcasses, with a focus on areas where vultures nest and where local governance is lacking. These areas include Bedouin communities in the Negev, the Wadi Ara area, the Galilee, and the Golan Heights.
Farmers and livestock breeders occasionally poison carcasses and leave them in the field, primarily to target predators like wolves, foxes, and jackals that harm infrastructure, crops and livestock.
Vultures, with their keen eyesight, easily locate these poisoned carcasses, putting them at risk. Additionally, vultures can also be poisoned by carcasses that have been treated with specific veterinary drugs to which they are sensitive.
"The budget will help establish the necessary infrastructure to achieve the goals and thus the protection and preservation of the eagles against poisoning will be more efficient," Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman said.
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