BSPB made toxicology sampling and ringed all juvenile Egyptian Vultures in Bulgaria [ 2009-08-10 03:44:47 ]


All 25 unfledged juveniles of the endangered Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) were sampled between 15.07 and 05.08.2009 during a toxicology study made by BSPB. The birds were ringed also with permanent plastic color rings.

After the worrying last years’ results for the health status of the juveniles (, during this year BSPB conducted larger scaled toxicology sampling of the unfledged juveniles. From 21 juveniles were taken blood samples for studying the contamination levels of heavy metals, antibiotics, pesticides and different diseases. Secretions from eye, throat and cloaci were taken from all 25 juveniles for studying the prevalence of bacterial and fungal infections.

On the left leg of the birds was placed standard aluminum ring, while on the right leg we placed permanent plastic ring (yellow color with black digits). It will allow future identification from up to 400-500 meters. The plastic ring is specially designed for the Egyptian Vulture in Spain and already used from more than 10 years by Spanish colleagues. The big advantage of this ring type is that the rings are not being lost after years but remain for the whole life of the bird. The yearly carrying out of this activity, combined with subsequent good monitoring will allow us to trace the life of the individuals and to study the individual lifetime reproductive success, breeding territories and mates changes, immature and natal dispersal, to gain different age classes survival estimates, identify the birds on the migration and in the wintering areas, etc. Of course by this way we will gain invaluable information for the future planning and execution of the needed conservation measures.

Together with the last years’ conduction of the activity, when toxicology samples were taken from 15 juveniles and totally 27 were ringed, this study is one of the very few of its kind made with Vultures on the Balkans.
The collected toxicology samples will be sent for analysis to leading specialists in the Natural History Museum in Madrid, Spain. The final results of the study will be published in 2010.

The action was broadcasted on BTV, the most popular Bulgarian television.
Reportage was broadcasted also on Pro BG TV.

The participants in the BSPB team were Vladimir Dobrev, Dobromir Dobrev, Volen Arkumarev, Tsvetomira Yotsova, Ivaylo Angelov and Nikolay Terziev.
In five of the days the activity was implemented under the supervision of representatives from the Regional Inspectorates of Environment and Waters from Varna, Rouse and Veliko Tarnovo. In Rousenski Lom Nature Park the activity was jointly implemented with participants from the nature park administration.

We are grateful to the volunteers who are executing the guarding one nest in Northeast Bulgaria and thanks to their work the pair succeeded to hatch and currently has one juvenile (; We are thankful to Ivaylo Borissov (Field Station for Bat research, Tabachka village) for the support in Roussenski Lom area.

The toxicology sampling and ringing are funded by Rhodope Project, Rufford Small Grants, Vulture Conservation Foundation, Frankfurt Zoological Society and private donations by Barbara Cross and Michael Roberts, Great Britain and Ed Keeble, Great Britain.