Vulture Severely Hurt in Golan Poisoning Released Back to Nature

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Vulture returned to nature after eating poison spread illegally in the Golan Heights, Israel, May 16, 2019.
Vulture returned to nature after eating poison spread illegally in the Golan Heights, Israel, May 16, 2019. Credit: Gil Eliahu

The Nature and Parks Authority released back to nature on Thursday one of the two vultures treated for poisoning over the weekend in the Golan Heights.

After being treated at the wildlife hospital in Ramat Gan, the vulture was transferred in a cage to the Gamla Nature Reserve before being set free.

>> Analysis: To prevent more vulture deaths, we need harsher penalties

On Friday, eight vultures, two jackals and a fox were found dead in the Golan Heights after eating poison spread illegally.

According to the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, two vultures fell sick from consuming the organic phosphorus and received medical treatment in the field and were then transferred to the wildlife animal hospital in Ramat Gan.

On Sunday, the police arrested a suspect in the poisoning. The suspect, Ghassan Mandouri, in his 30s, is a resident of the Bedouin village of Tuba Zangaria in the Upper Galilee.

The poisoned vultures in the Golan Heights, May 10, 2019.Credit: David Pils, Nature and Parks Authority

In the hearing to extend Mandouri's remand, Tiberias Magistrate's Court Judge Nir Mishori Lev Tov said: "After reviewing the investigative material and the [police] report, I've reached the conclusion that an evidentiary basis, which links the suspect to the offense attributed to him exist in the sufficient extent to establish a reasonable suspicion, while taking into account the investigation is still in its initial stages.      

Before this incident, there were about 20 vultures in the Golan Heights. Over the past two years, the Nature and Parks Authority brought vultures from Spain to Israel and released them into the wild, in hopes of replenishing the population. The reduction in the vulture population is mainly caused by poisoning with pesticides, which seems to be the case here. Other causes include lead poisoning from hunters' bullets, and electrocution on power lines.

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