THE DICLOFENAC VULTURE ARMAGEDDON IS NOW ON SPAIN'S DOORSTEP and we should take time to appreciate its vultures as many of them may not be around for much longer. BirdLife International lists Eurasian Griffon Vulture as being of least concern, however, this could change very quickly if we see the same ultra rapid decline in vulture populations that there was in India from the late 1990s onwards. Egyptian Vulture is already listed as endangered, Cinereous Vulture near threatened and both feed on cattle carcases, as do griffons, and the future looks pretty bleak for them all if Spain's farmers start using diclofenac. I cannot imagine what possessed the morons who licensed this terrible drug for sale in the EU, maybe just plain ignorance perhaps? ...or something more sinister? It is such a depressing state of affairs. Money talks these days and it seems the wishes of conservationists count for nothing. So what can we do? We can at least enjoy watching the wonderful wildlife that is still around us while we can as the shadows of heartless and greedy developers and industrialists draw closer. This thought crossed my mind as I watched over 50 vultures at a feeding station in the Val D'Aran the other day.
Viewing entries tagged
HIGH IN CATALONIA'S SERRA DE BOUMORT (= 'mountain of the dead cow' on account of the cows that got their legs stuck in or were fatally injured in the rocky landscape) we enjoyed probably our best photo session so far for Lammergeiers. They are notoriously shy creatures and take some time to come down for a free meal, circling for ages and thoroughly checking the surrounding area for danger before risking a landing. The local population of these truly amazing birds continues to flourish, thanks to the regular supply of carrion put out for the last 30 years at several feeding stations in this part of the Pre-Pyrenees range. Here they are 'bone-swallowers' rather than 'bone-breakers', thanks to the ideally-sized sheep's limbs provided for them. As usual we saw all four regular Spanish vultures from the hide including an insane frenzy of griffons but the Lammers stole the show, also as usual. They have the look of a missing link about them and would not be out of place in such as Avatar with their striking plumage, beard (or rather moustache) and just under three meters wingspan! PH1 stomach acid allows the vultures to digest bone inside 24 hours - I have seen them swallow two sheep legs at one sitting previously.