Cyprus releases endangered vultures to boost population
Conservationists in Cyprus released griffon vultures into the wild on Friday, in the latest attempt to boost a critically endangered population of the scavenger birds.
Once thriving, the number of vultures on the east Mediterranean island is the smallest in Europe as accidental poisoning or changing farming techniques have left them short of food.
Fourteen vultures from Spain were released into the hills north of the city of Limassol on Friday, bringing the vulture population now to "about" 29.
Project coordinators BirdLife, the island's Game Service, the Vulture Conservation Foundation and Terra Cypria released 15 griffons into the wild last year. Of those, 11 have survived.
Conservationists have in the past made several attempts to boost the vulture population, including importing birds from Crete. The organisations said, surveys have shown that without timely intervention to address the causes of vulture deaths the birds could become extinct on the island within 15 years.