Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) nests in deep cavities on steep cliffs. It is listed as globally threatened and 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.
Turkey hosts one of the largest breeding populations with an estimated population of up to 2000 pairs, corresponding to up 25 percent of the world population of the species, while further validation of this estimate is needed. It has been widely acknowledged by conservationists that the Kirmir Valley IBA, Beypazarı (100 km west of Ankara) holds a globally significant population of Egyptian Vultures. Doga is working in Beypazarı since 2006 and established a strong basis for community-based conservation, especially cooperating with shepherds, to maintain the unique pastoral habitats for vultures and other steppic species. Abandonment of traditional pastures of the Angora Goats (a native goat race) and intensification in animal-farming in Beypazarı resulted in the reduction of available sources of food for vultures. Starting from 2016, Doga works to sustain and regenerate traditional pastoralism, largely based on Angora Goats, to support the Egyptian Vulture population and other species.
In 2010, Doga started a joint project on Egyptian Vultures in cooperation with BSPB and the RSPB to prepare an inventory of the species in Beypazarı region. As a result of this study, Beypazarı area is identified as the most intensive breeding ground (more than 100 pairs) for this species in all Europe. Current activities in Beypazarı focus on monitoring the pop Fruulation size and threats through community-based action and improving the habitat quality via supporting traditional pastoralism.
In complementary to its direct conservation actions in Beypazarı, Doga started to work with BSPB and other BirdLife partners around the world to conserve the species along its entire flyway. To this end, a migratory Egyptian Vulture count is carried out in Erzin, a key bottleneck for the European population of the species. Furthermore, Doga is working closely with BSPB for identification of the breeding population of the species in Central Anatolia. Two partners conducted fieldwork in 2017 and identified new breeding grounds of the species in Sivas and Kayseri. In 2018, Doga along with BSPB and seven other organizations from different countries initiated a multi-country project to reinforce the eastern European Egyptian Vulture population by delivering urgent conservation measures to address major known threats at breeding grounds and also along the flyway. Doga will continue its cooperation with shepherds and local producers to better understand and mitigate threats towards the species along its Anatolian Flyway.
Photograph: © Kadir Dabak