The nest guarding programme implemented under the project “The Return of the Neophron” aimed to prevent direct threats to Egyptian vulture nests such as disturbance, nest robbing and persecution, and as added value, to collect data on the biology and ecology of the species.
People directly involved in the nest guarding programme were carefully selected based on certain requirements . Also they must have good comunication skills in order to cover the requirements in the strategy for communication and cooperation with local people and authorities. In some occasions, nest guarding was combined with another direct conservation action - individual supplementary feeding close to the nest.
During the implementation of the LIFE+ project “The Return of the Neophron”, the following results in relation to nest guarding of Egyptian vultures in Bulgaria and Greece were achieved:
• In average 15 pairs (or 50% of the pairs with clutch) in Bulgaria and Greece were guarded annualy between 2012 and 2015;
• The project ensured personal guard in average of 69% of the chicks since 2012;
• 7 juveniles were saved by nest guardians between 2012 and 2015, improving species productivity with 5.7%;
• 6 fatal disturbances of breeding Egyptian vultures were prevented;
• More than 30 people were involved in the nest guarding programme each year since 2012, including many volunteers from foreign countries (e.g. Lithuania, Canada, USA, Rumania, Germany, etc.).
Involving local people makes this action less resource consuming and thus more sustainable in long-term. Nest guarding during the incubation and fledgling period seems to be the most beneficial to increase the productivity of vultures and saving chicks every year, and it is a powerful raising awareness tool amongst local communities. Nest guarding is mostly needed in areas where nests are vulnerable to disturbance, robbing and direct persecution.
We would like to express our gratitude to all field assistants, local collaborators and volunteers involved in the nest guarding programme for Egyptian vultures in Bulgaria and Greece.
We express our gratitude to all donors, thanks to whom the activity was able to be implemented from 2014 onwards! We remind that the nest guarding campaign “Volunteer to save the Egyptian Vulture” for 2016 continues. We are expecting you!
Find the full report “Nest guarding of the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) in Bulgaria and Greece (2012-2015)” here.