Although illegal, poison bait use in the countryside is still widespread, severely threatening nature, wildlife, and public health across the Balkan Peninsula and beyond. The most common motive behind this harmful practice is the intentional placement of poison baits to kill wild predators or other feral and domestic animals that may inflict damages on livestock or game species. But this non-selective method of extirpating animals also kills protected and vulnerable species, causing population declines and preventing the comeback of certain wildlife. Vultures, being mostly obligate scavengers, often fall victim to wildlife poisoning, either by directly consuming the bait or feeding on poisoned animals' carcasses.
Poisoning in figures
Illegal wildlife poisoning is the #1 most pressing conservation issue affecting numerous threatened wildlife species in the Balkans.
A lot of progress has been made to tackle illegal wildlife poisoning in the Balkans, thanks to conservation projects. Now, with the launch of the ambitious BalkanDetox LIFE project, nine organizations will work together to fight this threat by raising awareness and strengthening national capacities across Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, the Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia.
The project is a five-year endeavour with a €1.8 million budget, which received funding from the EU’s LIFE Programme, and it is co-financed by the Vulture Conservation Foundation, the MAVA Foundation and Euronatur, as well as by the Whitley Fund for Nature and Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund for specific actions. Project partners are the Vulture Conservation Foundation as the coordinating beneficiary, and the Albanian Ornithological Society, Association BIOM, Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia, Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna, Hellenic Ornithological Society, Macedonian Ecological Society, Ornitološko društvo NAŠE Ptice and the Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania. Furthermore, this project is based on Spanish best practice experience and counts on the support from Junta de Andalucía and the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge.