Nine griffon vultures were found dead on Sunday near Arad in southern Israel, with the Nature and Parks Authority suspecting that the birds were intentionally poisoned.
“This is a very serious incident, which has significantly harmed the vulture population in the south,” said the nature authority.
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INPA inspectors found a dead goat near the vultures, in the area of Nahal Kina and Nahal Kamrir, which is suspected to be the source of the poison – and the animals are being sent to be examined at the Veterinary Institute in Beit Dagan, said the authority. As a result of the incident – and to prevent further poisoning – they are distributing food at feeding stations in the region.
The vultures are a species at risk of extinction. Dr. Asaf Tsoar, the nature authority’s ecologist for the southern district, said: “Usually the intention is not to poison vultures, but stray dogs or other predators. Whoever did it is taking the law into their own hands and endangering the public, and the result is terrible.”
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel said: “Some 200 griffon vultures live in Israel today. Nine vultures are almost 5 percent of the entire population of vultures in Israel. The poisonings of vultures continue, and every time we are shocked again. Until the law is changed, it will be very hard to catch the criminals, and even if they are caught, it is unlikely they will face justice.”