Eight Vultures, Two Jackals and a Fox Die of Poisoning in Golan Heights

Only about 12 vultures remain in the Golan after the latest illegal poisoning, which seems to have been caused by farmers targeting predators that attack cattle herds

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

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

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

In the area where the poisoning took place, there are illegal grazing activities and vultures have been poisoned there once in the past. An official complaint is being filed, and an investigation will be opened.

>> IN PHOTOS: The vultures have landed

A representative of the Nature and Parks Authority said: "This is a grave and difficult event that significantly hurts the vulture population in the Golan Heights during its nesting period. The authority will use all means necessary to find those responsible for the poisoning and bring them to justice."

Most incidents of poisoning are connected to farmers who are struggling against predators like wolves or jackals, which attack cattle herds. Vultures converge on poisoned cattle carcasses, eat them and die from the poison that was meant for other predators.

Before today, 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.