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Cabo Verde Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus on the brink: community perceptions, inferences and facts of an extreme population crash

  • RUI FREITAS (a1), CATELENE MONTEIRO (a2), ISABEL RODRIGUES (a3), ALEX TAVARES (a4), GILDA MONTEIRO (a5) (a6), PEDRO LÓPEZ (a7), SAMIR MARTINS (a7), JOÃO FERREIRA (a8), LIZA LIMA (a5), JOSÉ PEDRO TAVARES (a9) and LUÍS PALMA (a10)...

Summary

The Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus was once an abundant species in the Cabo Verde Islands. Since the 1960s though, and especially during the 1980–1990s, it consistently declined to near extinction. Evidence collected indicates a remnant population of about a dozen pairs or less, scattered through the desert rangelands of only three islands. Extensive enquiry work revealed that this likely resulted from the concomitant effects of the rise in unnatural mortality due to the formerly widespread and long-lasting use of dangerous pesticides and the (still on-going) poisoning of stray dogs and other nuisance animals, and a decrease in food resources associated with factors linked with development, such as urbanisation, rural abandonment and better sanitation. Avoiding imminent extinction calls for emergency action against current threats to the remaining vultures, such as poisoning and electrocution, but also potential causes of impaired fecundity such as hazardous pesticides and shortage of food resources.

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Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence; e-mail: luis.palma@cibio.up.pt

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