Since 1999 we have been working with local NGOs in the Caucasus to understand better the ecology of the vultures found there. Our work started off in Georgia with the Georgian Center for Conservation of Wildlife http://www.gccw.org/index.php?par=vultures), where we focussed mainly on Bearded Vulture.
Since then we have expanded into Armenia and Azerbaijan, where we work with the Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds and the Azerbaijan Ornithological Society (http://www.azeribirds.org/eng/next.html). Working with Hawk Mountain Sanctuary of the US, we have expanded survey and monitoring of vultures in the region and radiotracked griffon, bearded and cinereous vultures via satellite.
These studies have been funded in part by NR, but we have also received grants from the Eppley Foundation for Research, the Hawk Mountain Members' Association, Civilian Research Development Fund, Riverbanks Zoo, and the Office for Central Europe and Eurasia, and they are resulting in peer-reviewed journal articles.
Since 2003, and in the light of huge declines in some vultures on the Indian subcontinent due to Diclofenac poisoning (http://www.vulturedeclines.org/), we have refocused our efforts somewhat in the Caucasus to concentrate on Eurasian Griffon Vultures. To this end we, with our Caucasus partners, are now running survey and monitoring schemes in the region and with those partners and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds we are tracking the movement of vultures via satellite (funded by the Darwin Initiative).
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Photos: M. McGrady