Fruitful and multiplied: Israeli vultures defy extinction

The incubating process takes place as part of a special project called “Spreading Wings.”

By World Israel News Staff 

Despite a case of poisoning earlier this year and fears of extinction, 2019 was a productive year for vultures in Israel, reports Maariv Online, citing figures issued by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.

In fact, a new record was set, says the report.

Twenty-four vulture eggs were hatched in breeding programs in 2019 compared to 19 in each of the years 2016-2018, according to the figures.

The incubating process takes place as part of a special project called “Spreading Wings.”

Ten vultures were poisoned on the Golan Heights in May. The intention of the assailant was apparently to carry out an extermination to protect his own farm.

However, in the process, he poisoned the vultures and eight of them, half of the total population, did not survive, according to reports.

Therefore, this year’s productivity is considered especially encouraging.

The breeding in the Spreading Wings project takes place in the Mount Carmel area in northern Israel.

The fears of extinction of vultures have prevailed for years, says Maariv Online. The counter-effort is said to include veterinary research, taking measures against poisoning, preserving nests, preventing electrocution, greater supervision of feeding, and educating the public.

Spreading Wings began in 1996 but was less successful in its first years in “revitalizing” the vulture population, according to Ohad Hazofeh, an ecologist at the Nature and Parks Authority, cited by the news outlet.

Vultures have since been “imported” from Cyprus, Armenia, and Spain, he says, in an effort to enlarge the seed supply.

Even as he speaks optimistically of the future, Hazofeh calls on the Israeli government to continue aggressively with law enforcement, legislation, and stricter penalties in acting to protect the vultures and the animal world in general.