Archived 2014 discussion: Lammergeier / Bearded Vulture* (Gypaetus barbatus): is it eligible for a higher threat category?

*Please note that BirdLife International will soon adopt ‘Bearded Vulture’ as the English name for this species.

This discussion was first published as part of the 2012 Red List update, but remains open for comment to enable reassessment in 2014.

BirdLife species factsheet for Lammergeier

Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture) Gypaetus barbatus is a widespread inhabitant of mountainous areas in Asia, parts of northern, eastern and southern Africa, and southern Europe. It is listed as Least Concern on the basis that it is currently not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria.

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence of less than 20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (at least a 30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (fewer than 10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be at least 10% over ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure).

Despite its current global Red List status, this species has been classed as endangered at the national level in many range states, and regarded as data deficient in many others (Gil et al. 2008, 2009; GRIN 2011 and references therein). It is widely regarded that this species is in decline globally; however, the overall rate of decline has apparently not been estimated. Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) describe the species as having apparently experienced massive declines over the last two centuries. They also highlight that its range has been greatly reduced since the 1940s. The main causes of on-going declines appear to be non-target poisoning, direct persecution, habitat degradation, disturbance of breeding birds, inadequate food availability and collisions with power-lines (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) estimated the global population at fewer than 10,000 pairs, suggesting that there are fewer than 20,000 mature individuals; however, more recently the species was estimated to number between 10,000 and 100,000 individuals (Gil et al. 2008).

The species is scarce and declining in several sub-regions, especially southern Africa, where a relatively recent range contraction is thought to have been due to displacement by humans and livestock at lower elevations, along with other forms of habitat degradation (GRIN 2011 and references therein). Declines have also been noted in Free State and in former Transvaal, where it is now considered a vagrant, although in KwaZulu-Natal it may have expanded its range. Other threats affecting the species in southern Africa include targeted and incidental poisoning, other forms of direct persecution (including for traditional uses), changes in livestock-rearing practices, electrocution and collision with power-lines and habitat loss to development projects (GRIN 2011 and references therein). Simmons and Jenkins (2007) suggested that population trends in this species in southern Africa are correlated with climate trends. In addition, apparently severe declines have been noted in Ethiopia, and perhaps Eritrea, since the 1970s (Ash and Atkins 2009).

In Europe, the species appears to be increasing in the Alps and Pyrenees, although the overall population trend in Europe is unknown, and the EU species action plan is regarded as having been well-implemented overall; however, significant threats remain, including lead poisoning and wind-farm development (reviewed by BirdLife International 2011).

The species’s status across its vast range in Asia is less certain, although it is likely to be more secure. In South Asia, the species is described as locally common, with the on-going clearance of remaining forest tracts in the lower Himalayas said to probably favour range expansion (Naoroji 2006). Similarly, it is described as frequent in Bhutan (Spierenburg 2005).

Data and observations regarding population trends and numbers throughout the species’s range are requested so that a comprehensive review of its global threat status can be carried out. In particular, information is needed from China and Mongolia, northern South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East (especially Iran), south-eastern Europe (especially Turkey) and East Africa.

If evidence points towards a decline approaching 30% (typically 20-29%) over the last three generations, estimated by BirdLife to be c.53 years, then the species may be eligible for uplisting to Near Threatened under the A criteria. A decline of 30-49% over 53 years would qualify the species for uplisting to Vulnerable.

References:

Ash, J. and Atkins, J. (2009) Birds of Ethiopia & Eritrea: an atlas of distribution. London, UK: Christopher Helm.

BirdLife International (2011) Review of the Implementation of Species Action Plans for Threatened Birds in the European Union (2004-2010). Brussels, Belgium: BirdLife International.

Ferguson-Lees, J. and Christie, D. A. (2001) Raptors of the World. London, UK: Christopher Helm.

Gil, J. A., Díez, O., Lorente, L., Báguena, G., Chéliz, G. and Ascaso, J. C. (2008) Tras el vuelo del quebrantahuesos. La Garcilla 137: 16-17.

Gil, J. A., Díez, O., Lorente, L., Báguena, G., Chéliz, G. and Ascaso, J. C. (2009) On the trail of the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus): world distribution and population. Fundación para la Conservación del Quebrantahuesos.

Global Raptor Information Network (GRIN) (2011) Species account: Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 5 Sep. 2011.

Naoroji, R. (2006) Birds of Prey of the Indian Subcontinent. London, UK: Christopher Helm.

Simmons, R.E., and Jenkins, A. R. (2007) Is climate change influencing the decline of Cape and Bearded Vultures in southern Africa? Vulture News 56: 41-51.

Spierenburg, P. (2005) Birds in Bhutan: Status and Distribution. Bedford, UK: Oriental Bird Club.

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24 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Lammergeier / Bearded Vulture* (Gypaetus barbatus): is it eligible for a higher threat category?

  1. The species is rarely recorded in our countries where only one individual was recorded in 2010 in southern Egypt by members of the National Birds Monitoring team since then no more records of the species was reported, therefore it is worth to be recognized as species under high risk.

  2. For adding a modest contribution about Bearded vulture in North Western Africa, I would say that:
    – according to the present data (database with 507 old and present observations), Moroccan population estimate is about 5 up to a maximum of ten reproductive units, all of them in High Atlas
    – situation is unknown in Algeria (last sightings in the nineties, but with present situation, who knows?)
    – extinct in Tunisia

    So I would propose a Critically Endangered status for North Western bearded vulture population.
    With Michel Thévenot, we are presently writing a article about Moroccan population.

  3. Bearded Vulture status in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania
    As a side project during an attempted re-introduction programme of Bearded Vultures from Ethiopia to Hell’s Gate in Kenya in 1999-2003, my colleagues and I noted healthy popualtions of Bearded Vultures in Ethiopia, nesting in severely modifided “anthropogenic” landscapes, much different to the 1960-1970 period in which Leslie Brown did his work and estimate. We reserved comment regarding their status due to the impossibility of conducting a comparative method and concern as to its accuracy. We found between-nest distances as surprisingly high for a species as large. If used with modern GIS that identifies all possible suitable cliffs within “Afro-alpine” zones I felt sure the total numbers would be sufficiently high as to NOT warrant immediate concern. Until improved techniques (rather than road counts) are used, (such as rotor craft survey and GIS maps) I feel a true status review seriously flawed in a country of such dramatic terrain and poor accessibility. But that was a decade ago and negative factors facing all raptors in general in Ethiopia increase in parallel to their human population growth.
    In Kenya the status is dire with 3 known nesting sites and poor outlook for others. In Tanzania there may be 6 or more nest sites. In Uganda the status is unknown today, but with evidence of near total loss of the Mt Elgon population. These sub-populations are certainly imperilled. The most pressing matter today for all scavenging birds in Eastern Africa is poisoning.
    If populations in Ethiopia copy that of Est Africa, then the species is well deserving of uplisting.

  4. In South-East Kazakhstan (Zailiysky Alatau, Northern Tien Shan) the population of Lammergeier seems stable. There were not special surveys, bur general impression is the number is the same as e.g. 20 years ago. It is not numerous, but regularely observed. In Aksu-Dzhabagly Nature Reserve (Talassky Alatau, Western Tien Shan, pers. comm. of Yelena Chalikova) the number is stable, too.

    • Stanislav Viter says:

      Now there is a threatening habitat degradation species in Iran, Afghanistan , the mountainous regions of Iraq , Turkey, western Pakistan . The reason – a manifold increase in grazing in the mountains , increasing human population. Pipeline construction through Altai and the Caucasus Mountains and can lead to degradation of the largest breeding populations of species in these regions. Planned construction of electric power from Tajikistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India can lead to death of most of the young birds in the western Hindu Kush , Khyber Agency , Bandi- Turkestan , Swat. Thus, at least one third of the species range is in the zone of special risk. This zone is located, possibly, the densest Lammergeiers population. I believe that an assignment category “vulnerable” quite adequately.

  5. I wanted to provide some comments regarding the status of populations in Europe and Asia: in Europe (European Union) the population has grown in the Alps (with the emergence of new breeding pairs due to the reintroduction project, 19 pairs in 2010) , as in the Pyrenees, particularly in its central part (Aragon, Spain), from its population of 39 pairs in 1994 to 72 pairs in 2010. Yet the European population (175 pairs in 2010) and more particularly that of Spain (with two reintroduction projects under way, Andalusia and Cantabrian Mountains-), follow Endangered considering, as some problems persist conservation: poisons and shock and electrocution with power lines mainly. In Asia, we should seek more information from the Himalayas, with respect to the impact it has had on the diflofenac populations.

  6. Rishad Naoroji says:

    The Bearded Vulture in India is locally common throughout the Indian Himalaya from Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh. Some altitude movement occurs during winter when very occasionally around Corbett National Park, individuals seen as low as 600 m. in the lower foothills. It was earlier commonly seen in the western and central Himalaya, but in the recent few years not observed it as frequently in the central lower Himalaya due perhaps to disturbance. No serious evaluation of its population status has been conducted. As long as carcass availability is not negatively affected, the species should survive. Populations in Ladakh and along the high Himalaya are to my knowledge secure.

  7. I am just providing data on the species population size the island of Crete (Greece) that could be useful for the assessment of its European conservation status. There are 6 breeding pairs on the island or an estimated population of 40 individuals (max) which constitute the entire Greek population. The species had been enlisted as critically endangered in the Greek Red Data Book although it shows signs of recovery and a positive population trend compared to the decades. However, at present the plans of the wind farm industry on the island (4000 MW) pose the major and worst threat for its survival.

    I believe that the eligibility of the species for a higher threat category should first consider the reevaluation of the Russian and Turkish populations which I fear that are overestimated.

  8. Carol Inskipp and Hem Sagar Baral says:

    Lammergeier is a widespread altitudinal migrant in Nepal. It has been assessed as Vulnerable under the criteria A2a,C2a(i),D1 in The State of Nepal’s Birds 2010 published by Bird Conservation Nepal and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Kathmandu. The species has not yet been re-assessed for the Nepal Red Data Book which is currently being researched and written (to be published by the Zoological Society of London). Massive declines of Lammergeier have been recorded in upper Mustang recently. The numbers of the species recorded per day and per kilometre decreased by 73% and 80% respectively between 2002 and 2008. Although the cause is unknown, diclofenac is suspected because the species’s range overlaps with that of other vulture species known to be affected (Acharya et al. 2010).
    Reference: Acharya, (Sharma) R., Cuthbert, R., Baral, H. S. and Chaudhary, A. (2010) Rapid decline of the Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus in Upper Mustang, Nepal. Forktail.26:117-120.

  9. Although negligible from Global point of view, the Lammergeier was still present in FYR of Macedonia – Greek and Bulgarian – Greek border areas until the first few years of XXI century. Specially directed surveys conducted at that time showed presnece of 2 to 5 individuals. Observations of juvenile and immature birds gave a reason to suggest possible breeding of 1-2 pairs. Despite the general increase of conservation actions for the vultures (establishment of the Balkan Vulture Action Plan) and involvement of a number of conservation groups in conservation of the vultures in the region, there is no even a single observation of the species in the last 5 years.

  10. Ethiopia is the African country holding the largest Beaded Vulture population. I gained some impressions on the species during two expeditions in the country, aimed particularly at the Egyptian Vulture in 2009-2010. To my understanding at present the Bearded Vulture population could be numbering probably a few hundred pairs, but not thousands, as mentioned in previous estimate. New emerging threats are facing the vultures throughout the country – at one hand the very dangerous type power lines are constantly growing in length throughout the highlands, while on the other it seems that the use of poisons against dogs at municipal rubbish dumps (favored by the species in Ethiopia) could be another major unknown problem. We found evidence for use of poisons at least in Awassa, Negele and possibly Addis Ababa. Probably hundreds of Hooded Vultures died in Negele in a poisoning incident, when also more than 300 stray dogs were poisoned in a single night and day. Ash & Atkins in “Birds of Ethiopia and Eritrea” also give evidence for decrease: “A decrease in their numbers was first noted in 1973-1977, when 64 were counted, compared with 102 in the previous three years. By 1997 on a journey by the authors of 8758 kms in 45 days through Ethiopia only one, possibly two Lammergeiers were seen in the many areas where previously they had been frequent.”

  11. Lammergeier is a resident species in Armenia. The species occurs throughout the country, but in its south-western and north-western ranges it is very rare. Lammergeier breeds on cliffs in broad-leaf wood zone of northern and north-eastern parts of the country, as well as on rocky outcrops of mountain steppe and semi-desert in central and southern parts of Armenia.
    Over the last 12-20 years the population is stable with 13-15 breeding pairs.

  12. Two distinct subspecies of Gypaetus barbatus are recognized (Mundy et al. 1992). G. b. barbatus north of the Tropic of Cancer and G. b. meridionalis south of Tropic of Cancer. Consideration should be given to separating the threat listings for these subspecies.

    The southern African population is geographically isolated. It is currently listed as endangered although this may be upgraded to critically endangered with the current regional review. The population has suffered a major decline in its historic distribution range and population numbers continue to decline. A recent review of the breeding range and status of the species indicates that the breeding range of the Bearded Vulture in southern Africa has declined by about 25% in the past 30 years. The current breeding range is estimated at 26 250 km². The population size is estimated at 100 breeding pairs, which is half the number estimated by Brown (1990) 30 years ago.

    The two major threats to the population, namely poisoning and collisions with energy structures, have not yet been addressed.

  13. Joe Taylor says:

    The following post was sent by Cassandra Rodenbaugh via the Suggestions for new topics thread on 3 June 2013:

    The sole member of the genus Gypaetus is the Bearded Vulture, also known as the Lammergeier or Lammergeyer. It has been been declared extinct in several countries such as Romania (where it was exterminated in 1935). There was a reintroduction project in the Alps between 1986-1997 but it is difficult to find any other information on ongoing research projects or conservation groups. I am looking for any ongoing projects involving Lammergeiers.

    Cited: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/wildbirds/action_plans/docs/gypaetus_barbatus.pdf

  14. In the Indian trans-Himalaya where we work (Ladakh and Spiti), the Lammergeier is not uncommon. In fact, in Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh state, it is common near villages. Though we do not have estimates of abundance, I do keep hearing from local field staff about the reduction that they claim has been witnessed in its population. It shares much of its habitat (and food) with Himalayan Griffon vulture, Eurasian Griffon vulture, Golden Eagle and increasingly with feral dogs – which are turning into an emerging threat for wildlife across the Indian trans-Himalaya. There’s hardly any research or even short-term study on the species in the region. Hence, I would like to consider this species worth placing under watch. Though the status may be ‘near threatened’ in some parts of its range, its vulnerability as a large raptor and disappearance from parts of its former range should warrant a consideration in the change in its status as ‘vulnerable’.

  15. Sherub says:

    While count information is not available for Bhutan on this species, I would suggest that the species be put in the higher category of the IUCN Redlist. It is quite rare in Bhutan and found only in the alpine areas (above 4000 meters, and in winter rarely seen around 3000 meters). In 2008, during a month long bird diversity survey in the Wangchuck Centennial Park, the largest park in Bhutan, I hardly came across 5 individuals. I would suspect that the species breeds in Bhutan.

  16. Simon Thomsett says:

    Sonja Kruger and Ivaylo Angelov draw attention to the African G. b. meridionalis with the Sonja stating that the isolated south African group is Endangered and asked that distinction should be made between the two races.
    In Kenya it is surely Critically Endangered, In Ethiopia Vulnerable if Ivaylo and Ash are followed. The Uganda population Critically Endangered and the Tz pop, on the basis of its very low numbers Endangered.

  17. Richard Porter says:

    Little to add. In Yemen breeding population appears to be much reduced over past 35 years, but recent data poor. In Iraq it is resident in the norther Kurdistan mountains. No population attempts have been made but my ‘best guess’ is that <20 pairs would not be unreasonable.

  18. LAMMERGEIER

    Lammergeier has been assessed as VU based on the criteria A2ae?, C2a(i) and D1 in a draft species account prepared for the Nepal bird Red Data Book. This draft assessment was upheld at the October 2012 workshop held to discuss over 240 draft Nepal species accounts. The following text is extracted from the full Lammergeier species account which is available for download from the front page of Himalayan Nature: http://himalayannature.org/ A distribution map showing pre- and post-1990 distribution is also available here.

    STATUS AND DISTRIBUTION The species still appears to be widespread. However a 2002-2008 study in upper Mustang, Annapurna Conservation Area, a remote part of the Himalayas, which had previously been a stronghold of the species, found a sharp and substantial decline. Lammergeier was surveyed along four predetermined walked transects totaling 188 km in length in upper Mustang in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2008. The numbers of Lammergeier recorded per day and per kilometre decreased by 73% and 80% respectively between 2002 and 2008 (Acharya et al. 2010).
    However, surveys carried out between 2002 and 2006 in lower Mustang did not find any evidence of a decline (Giri 2013).
    Further monitoring is urgently needed to find out if declines are found in any other areas of Nepal, if the species’ distribution has been affected and to understand the cause of the decline.
    Its Nepal population has been estimated to be less than 500 birds.

    THREATS Although the cause of Lammergeier’s decline in upper Mustang is unknown, secondary poisoning by diclofenac is suspected because the species’ range overlaps with that of other vulture species known to be affected (Acharya et al. 2010).
    Veterinary pharmaceutical medicines are commonly available in Mustang District. One of them is diclofenac, but some other NSAIDs are also harmful to vultures. Himalayan Vulture and Lammergeier were found to sharing habitat and roosting sites in China. Sharing of roosting sites by these two species outside the study area was observed in Nepal (Acharya et al. 2010). Lammergeiers are primarily bone-eaters, but with the collapse of the resident Himalayan Vulture Gyps himalayensis from the same area (Acharya et al. 2009) it is possible that Lammergeiers are now able to access and feed on soft tissues from which they previously would have been excluded. It is not known if diclofenac residues remain within bones of treated animals, although residues are known to be passed into feathers and hair. Although the Lammergeier is mainly a resident and non-migratory species, it has been observed flying with other vulture species near the carcass of an Ox Bos indicus at 1100 m in Kaski District (Acharya et al. 2010). In addition to this it has also been observed as low as 305 m at Mugling. The movements of Lammergeier depend on food availability and they live in close proximity with lowland vultures when sharing food with them; hence diclofenac could be one of the reasons for the decline (Acharya et al. 2010). Diclofenac was still being widely used in upper Mustang in February 2012 (R. Acharya in litt. to C Inskipp February 2012).
    Along with diclofenac, other toxic substances (fungicides, herbicides and pesticides) could have similar or compounding effects on the decline of the Lammergeier in the area. It has already been observed that poisoning was the principal reason for non-natural mortality of the species in Europe. In addition, virtually all local people within the study area in upper Mustang believe that Lammergeier intestines make an effective treatment for diarrohea and that anyone who takes chicks from the nest of a vulture becomes more prosperous. Such beliefs suggest that exploitation of this bird may still occur in upper Mustang (Acharya et al. 2010). Local people in lower Mustang had the same belief (Giri 2013).

    CONSERVATION ACTION The Vulture Conservation Action Plan for Nepal (2009-2013) (Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Nepal Government 2009) has helped prioritize and streamline vulture conservation activities in Nepal. For example in 2006, a ban was introduced on the production and importation of diclofenac for veterinary use. Pharmaceutical firms are encouraged to promote a safe alternative called meloxicam. Vulture-Safe Feeding Sites have since been established in a number of locations. The project also promotes local livelihoods activities including bee-keeping and organic farming runs educational events raising awareness of the socio-economic value of vultures and the damage done by diclofenac. Lammergeier has been recorded from all high altitude protected areas post-1990. It is probably under-recorded outside the protected areas’ system as it mainly occurs at high altitudes.

    REFERENCES
    Acharya, (Sharma) R., Cuthbert, R., Baral, H. S. and Chaudhary, A. (2010) Rapid decline of the Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus in Upper Mustang, Nepal. Forktail.26:117-120.
    Acharya, (Sharma) R., Cuthbert, R., Baral, H. S. and Shah, K. B. (2009) Rapid population declines of Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis in Upper Mustang, Nepal. Bird Conservation International 19: 91-107. http://www.vulturedeclines.org/Acharya%20et%20al%202009%20Himalayan%20Griffon%20declines%20BCI.pdf
    DNPWC/MoFSC/GoN (2009) Vulture Conservation Action Plan for Nepal (2009—2013). Kathmandu. Government of Nepal, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.
    Giri, J. B. (2013) Population of Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus in lower Mustang, Nepal. Ibisbill 2: 121-125. http://www.birdlifenepal.org

    Carol Inskipp and Hem Sagar Baral

  19. Kerem Ali Boyla says:

    According to the recent estimates Turkey seems to hold the highest population in Europe. BiE 3 estimated 400-700 pairs.
    I have revised about 200 sighting records and 100 photographic records mostly by Turkish birders and bird photographers and updated the distribution map of the species. I can say that it is not continuous (anymore) but forms four packs being NW Turkey (mostly Kastamonu, Bolu, Ankara, Eskişehir, Bursa, Bilecik, Kütahya, Denizli, Afyon), Central Taurus Mountains (mostly Niğde, Adana, Mersin), NE Turkey (the rectangle between Ağrı, Tunceli, Giresun and Artvin) and SE Turkey (Şırnak, Van and Hakkari).
    See map here: http://kusbank.blogspot.com/2014/01/sakall-akbaba.html
    The extent of occurrence of those four packs are 70k, 20k, 70k and 20k km2 respectively. And my wild estimates are also as 50 pairs, 10 pairs, 80 pairs and 20 pairs totaling 160 pairs, in maximum.
    One obvious example for the change of the distribution range is the following. The species is now extremely rare in the provinces Muğla (f.e. Dalyan area) and Antalya, where there is a presence of birders.
    When I compare sightings and photographic sightings among species, I can see that Cinereous Vulture is encountered twice as much and of course in higher numbers. Assuming a breeding population of 200 pairs for Cinereous Vulture, this can give an idea of the ecological conditions of such species and that we cannot expect a higher estimate for Lammergeier.
    There is a need to understand that there is no good data from Turkey and there has never been.

  20. Manoj Sharma says:

    This species numbers have declined in Uttrakhand, India in atleast last 15 years. Whereas it was commonly seen around places like Nainital, Pungot and Sattal its numbers have declined in these areas.

  21. Joe Taylor says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information and comments posted above, our preliminary proposal for the 2014 Red List would be to uplist Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus to Near Threatened under criterion A2cde.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 31 March, after which recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    The final Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

  22. Khadananda Paudel and Toby Galligan says:

    Lammergeier in Nepal

    We have recently analysed the population trend in Lammergeier in the Upper Mustang region of Nepal (Paudel et al in review; provided on request). Between 2002 and 2007, LM declined by 87% (Acharya et al. 2010). It has remained stable at this low level up to 2012. Over the ten year period between 2002 and 2012, the population had declined by 83%.

    General observations from biologists and birdwatchers suggest this species to be declining. We do not know if this species is intolerant to diclofenac, but its decline is similar in magnitude and timing of those in vultures that are intolerant to diclofenac. Since the 2006 ban on diclofenac, its use has decreased markedly throughout Nepal (BCN unpublished data), but unlike the Himalayan Griffon, which shares Upper Mustang and has shown a partial recovery, the Lammergeier continues to decline. We think that this is because the Lammergeier suffers the additional and specific threat of nestling collection (nestlings are seen as a good omen), nest destruction (this species uses rope and fabric in its nest, which people take back) and hunting (this species intestines are used in traditional medicine).

    The population size of Lammergeier in Nepal is small – less than 500 individuals estimated in 2010 – and therefore the species is considered Vulnerable (State of Nepal’s Birds 2010). It is likely that the overall Lammergeier population in Nepal would have decreased by more than 80% in the past decade and that it will remain low for three generations (c.53 years). For these reasons, we will suggest that the Lammergeier be up-listed to Critically Endangered next time the threatened status of animals in Nepal is reviewed.

    References

    Acharya, R., Cuthbert, R., Baral, H.S., Chaudhary, A. (2010). Rapid decline of the Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus in Upper Mustang, Nepal. Forktail, 26: 117-120.

    BCN and DNPWC, 2011. The state of nepal’s birds 2010. Bird Conservation Nepal and
    Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Kathmandu.

    Paudel, K., Galligan, T., Amano, T., Acharya, R., Chaudhary, A., Baral, H.S., Bhusal, K.B., Green, R., Cuthbert, R., (in review) Population trends in Himalayan Griffon and Lammergeier in Upper Mustang, Nepal, before and after the ban on diclofenac.

    Thank you.
    Khadananda Paudel and Toby Galligan

  23. Andy Symes says:

    Recommended categorisation to be put forward to IUCN

    Following further review, there has been no change to our preliminary proposal for the 2014 Red List status of this species.

    The final categorisation will be published later in 2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessment by BirdLife and IUCN.

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