Endangered vultures get new lease on life in Cyprus

STORY: These griffon vultures fly free in Cyprus after

animal poison reduced the population to eight

Location: Korfi, Cyprus

(Melpo Apostolidou, Birdlife Cyprus Project Manager)

"It left only eight birds. Eight griffon vultures is the wild population in Cyprus because of poison baits that are placed in the countryside mainly to kill foxes and dogs, but unfortunately because griffon vultures are so good in finding dead animals, that is their food, they eat the poison, so that is why they die."

These big birds of prey once had

a thriving population on the island

but its population has dropped to

the smallest in Europe in recent decades

Conservationists say use of animal poison

must be effectively addressed

(Nicos Kassinis, Cyprus Game and Fauna Service Senior Officer)

"Unfortunately this is the main reason the griffon vulture population has declined so much on the island."

The eight vultures that were released

are from a group of 15 brought

to the island last year from Spain