In 2002 ASPB carried out an assessment of the national population and distribution of the species. The results where shocking since only 7 nests were found. All nests were carefully monitored to assess breeding success and threats. It has become possible to mitigate disturbance to the species and carry out public education program amongst target groups (e.g. hunters and Preserve managers).
In 2004 a special feeding station was established in the Reserve which contributed to a greater overwiner survival and helped to increase the fledgling success. Seven nestlings fledged that year from a total of seven breeding pairs. Dispersal movements of the Cinereous Vulture in Armenia were investigated using the aluminum tags [Fig.1 ] and patagial wing tags [Fig. 2].
Fig. 1. Fig. 2.
In 2006 ASPB established a monitoring program to study vulture movements in Armenia using radio transmitters (PTTs) in order to study home ranges and movements of vultures via satellite [Fig. 3, 4, 5, 6].
Fig. 3. Fig. 4.
Fig. 5 and 6. Juvenile cinereous with a wing tag and PTT
In early August of 2007, as monitoring of nest-sites continued, one more nest was detected in the Khosrov Reserve. It was discovered in the part of Khosrov Reserve where breeding of Cinereous Vulture has not been historically recorded. Finding one more additional nest has marked a total count of nine (9) nesting pairs in Armenia!
A brochure "Saving Black Vulture" (2003) was produced to provide an in-depth knowledge on Cinereous Vulture in Armenia. A colorful poster was published and several scientific articles appeared in peer journals and reports have also been written in the local newspapers.
First of all we thank the personnel of the Khosrov Reserve for providing on-the-ground support and the local people from nearby villages. Special gratitude is extended to Mike McGrady of Natural Research (UK) and Lexo Gavashelishvili of Georgian Center for the Conservation of Wildlife (GCCW) for the useful advice and help provided during the project implementation and without who these conservation efforts would not be possible.
Particular thanks are extended to Keith Bildstein (Hawk Mountain Sanctuary) for the great support in launching the vulture conservation efforts. We would like to express our sincere thanks to the European Division of BirdLife International, in particular Boris Barov for the valuable support to the project.
We thank tremendously our Iranian colleague ornithologists Mr. Hamid Amini and Mr. Mohammad Ebrahim Sehhatisabet of the Ornithology Unit of the Iranian Department of the Environment. Their help was essential to us in finding the dead vulture and collecting satellite-received transmitter in Iran.
We specially thank the funders of these activities - the Rufford Small Grants Foundation and the Lush Foundation (Lush Ltd).