Improving public perception of vultures

This project aimes to improve the public perception of vultures and to reintegrate the interdependant role they play within our society. In order to do this LPO Grands Causses is developing various communication platforms. A range of communication tools are regularly updated: posters, pamphlets, information panels on sign-posted paths, documentaries, dispalys etc. All of these are these are diffused at events organised by LPO Grands Causses and partner organisations throughout the entire area concerned (Aveyron, Lozere, Ardeche, Gard, Herault): conferences, seminars, open days, school field trips, stands at events organised by local authorities. This is to engage with a broad audience of stakeholders with regards to vultures, awareness raising is directed at very different levels: schools, local authorities, livestock farmers, hunters, politicians, general public, tourists…
The population of griffon vultures is currently expanding and their foraging area has enlarged as a result. This has brought them into areas where people aren’t used to seeing vultures so it is important for LPO Grands Causses to raise awareness in these places. We now hope to develop our communication and awareness raising activities over a much wider area and improve the public perception of vultures.

Tackling poisoning threats in raptor populations.

Poisoning of vultures is becoming increasingly frequent and represents a worldwide threat to all vulture populations. This man-made threat can be inflicted directly or indirectly upon vultures. Certain anti-inflammatory drugs used on domestic animals and remain present in their carcasses and can be toxic or life-threatening for vultures feeding upon them. Vultures can also be intoxicated by other substances artificially found within their bodies. Illegal shooting of large raptors remains an issue, even when not fatal, the shots can inflict sequelas or the side effects of the subsequent lead poisoning can remain latent. LPO Grands Causses aims to sytematically recover any dead vultures or other large raptor species for autopsy and veterinary analysis to determine the presence of leador other toxins. The second aspect of this project involves developing a routine for daily monitoring and awareness raising with various stakeholders: livestock farmers, farming bodies, local autorities, an hunters. Trials of lead-free ammunition are underway having been developed and executed in partnership with the Cevennes National Park, LPO Grands CAusses and the Hunters Federation of Lozere within the framework of a project supported by the European Commission .

Gryphon Vulture Conservation Program

The species is registred as “Least Concern” on the IUCN European red list, on the Appendix II of CITES and Annex I of EU Birds Directive. The population and its habitat are still under a strict conservation action plan. The two main threats to the species are direct mortality caused by humans (either accidentally or deliberately) and decreasing availability of food. The main cause of unnatural death is the use of poisoned baits for predator extermination.
This vulture, belongs to the scavengers group feeding on carcasses, usually the first to arrive and to feed with soft part of the carrion.
This project of Griffon vulture conservation in the Massif Central started by a first reintroduction program between 1981 and 1986 releasing 61 Griffon vultures. It’s been a real success and the current population in the Grands Causses is counted about 550 breeding pairs, precisely 441 fledges for 2017. The various actions regarding this project and carried out by LPO Grands Causses (technical structure of LPO France) are: Home range Monitoring (visual observations), breeding monitoring (follow-up of the breeding pairs establishment, the laying date and the juvenile fledging date), demographic monitoring (reading rings and data base uses), ensuring the sufficient quantities available of local and externally sourced food (plot rendering of cattle raiser, rendering hinge run by LPO Grands Causses team), habitat protection (be actor of political decisions in term of protection: creation of SPA-special protection area and other protection status), vigilance and threat management (hunting, poisoning, powerlines and wind turbines…), public awareness through various audiences.

Tackling wind turbine threats faced by raptor populations.

The politics of sustainable development encourage the creation of structures that produce renewable energy. In Aveyron, wind turbines have developed which in turn has created a mortality risk for the populations of large raptors found here. Many cases of death caused by wind farms have been recorded by local environmental organisations, mainly due to collisions. One of the objectives of this project is to reduce the threat posed by wind turbines, and particularly by wind farms, by applying regular and rigourours monitoring throughout the area concerned. Each turbine that has been proven to have been the cause of death of a large raptor is subject to a report written by LPO Grands Causses (to which structures?). LPO Grands Causses remains vigilant regarding the development of new wind farm projects on its territory. GPS trakers which allow precise monitoring of movements have been placed on bearded vultures and some cinereous vultures and providing precise data to allow territory mapping. Such information is vital for LPO Grands Causses to provide the necessary information to state and territorial bodies to take informed decisions on the emplacement of powerlines.

Biodiversity conservation in the Annamite mountains of Laos

Project Anoulak is dedicated to the conservation and research of wildlife in Laos. It is active in Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area (NNT NPA), central eastern Laos. We focus on a range of species notably on the white-cheeked gibbons (Nomascus siki/N. leucogenys), the red-shanked doucs, the large-antlered muntjac and otter species (Lutrogale; Aonyx, Lutra).
We are currently conducting a long-term behavioural ecology research on the white-cheeked gibbons and red-shanked doucs. Across their range, these species are under severe threat from (i) illegal hunting (traditional medicine, pet trade and opportunistically for its meat) and from (ii) habitat loss, which is the most severe in Vietnam (Rawson et al., 2011). The seven species of Nomascus spp. and three species of doucs are Globally Threatened under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In NNT NPA, wildlife hunting has been the main cause of animal population declines in the the past few decades and this on-going trend is rapidly leading to local extinction of the most hunting-sensitive species.
Given the current status of gibbon and douc species across their range there is a need to better understand their ecological requirements in order to improve their in-situ and ex-situ conservation management. Understanding the ecology of these species is one of the first steps in the development of conservation management plans and guidelines.
Conservation outcome 1: Gain knowledge of feeding ecology and nutrional requirements of white-cheeked gibbons and red-shanked douc to improve in-situ and ex-situ population management
Conservation outcome 2: Protection of white-cheeked gibbons and red-shanked douc at the research site with patrol teams
Conservation Outcome 3: Capacity building of lao nationals and local communty engagement and empowerment in conservation biology
Conservation Outcome 4: Knowledge sharing and building collaboration with research institutes and institutions.

Wildlife Conservation in the Rif Mountains, North Morocco

Our current initiatives are increasing public awareness regarding the protected status of the Barbary macaque to decrease the incidence of its capture for the pet trade or for use as photo props to attract tourists. We would like to expand our educational materials to include information about tortoises and vultures (the mountains where we are work are on the Europe-Africa bird migratory flyway. We are also facilitating visits of a health outreach team to seven villages (~2500 people) to provide health and educate village participants about basic health issues, while we conduct conservation awareness raising activities to reinforce the positive link between the conservation activities of BMAC and the local communities. We are currently repeating a Barbary macaque survey of the Rif Mountains assessing populations which have been the subject of our community conservation activities and those currently outside our area of activity.
BMAC uses an interdisciplinary perspective and an adaptive management approach to avoid negative impacts resulting from potential community misinterpretations of our activities. Our project is based around the principle of true inclusion of local people in conservation; of listening to and understanding their needs, and collaborating with them to create conservation strategies that work. Each of our initiatives encompasses carefully designed, socially and culturally appropriate projects that tackle issues in Barbary macaque conservation on a case-by-case basis depending on location and stakeholders.
Our community programs reassure local communities that we are concerned about their welfare. Access to healthcare is limited in the areas where we work and undiagnosed chronic diseases are common among vulnerable groups along with an unmet need for information about health. We would like to continue and expand our collaboration with the health outreach team to increase health outreach activities to vulnerable community members.