Every year across the Mediterranean, millions of birds are illegally killed during their migratory journey. Illegal Killing of Birds (IKB) is a large-scale project based on international partnership and cross-border collaboration working towards minimizing the killing of birds across the Mediterranean over the course of three years. Partners develop and implement international, national and local conservation actions to protect flagship avian threatened species, including vultures, from getting shot, trapped or poisoned in the region.
The main threats concerning vultures include wildlife poisoning, and on a lesser extent poaching. For instance, Europe’s only long-distance migratory vulture, the Egyptian Vulture, carries out an epic journey, travelling across three continents in the east, facing several threats depending on the regions. In some areas in the Balkans, it is threatened by illegal wildlife trafficking — young chicks and eggs are often stolen while older birds fall victim to trophy hunting. These threats have adverse effects on the species population. In Europe, its population dropped by 50% in the past 50 years, while in the Balkans, it has decreased by 80% over 30 years.