Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is a medium-sized vulture species that feeds primarily on carrion and occasionally on organic rubbish. It nests in deep cavities on steep cliffs. It is classified as Endangered. The global breeding population is distributed through Europe, the Middle East, Western Asia, India and Africa. The European, Asian and Middle Eastern populations are migratory.
In Europe, Turkey has one of the largest breeding populations with an estimated population of up to 2000 pairs. However, this number has not been accurately established as there were never any large-scale studies covering the species in Turkey. Since the species has been classified as Endangered, the need to conduct scientific research and implement direct conservation action on the Turkish breeding population is even more urgent as the country may assume a key role in the global conservation of Egyptian vultures.
It has been widely acknowledged by birdwatchers and visitors that the Beypazarı area (100 km west of Ankara, the capital city of Turkey) might hold a relatively big population of Egyptian vultures as the species is a common sight in the region, notably at the dump site very close to Beypazarı city center. In 2010, Doğa started a project on Egyptian vultures in cooperation with of BSPB (BirdLife partner in Bulgaria). This project aimed to establish the first ever inventory of the Egyptian vulture breeding population in the Beypazarı region. As a result of this study, the Beypazarı area was identified as the most intensive breeding ground (up to 100 pairs) for this species in all Europe.
Current activities focus on monitoring the threats affecting this important breeding population, thus contributing valuable data to the global research and monitoring program being implemented for this priority species. Doğa also works on community-based conservation in Beypazarı, especially cooperating with shepherds, to maintain the unique pastoral habitats for vultures and other steppic species.
Photograph: © Kadir Dabak