Wind turbines are threatening the last Egyptian Vultures of the Balkans
One may think that fighting for survival is enough hardship for a wildlife species to endure. Sadly, in the case of the handful Egyptian Vultures of the Balkans they would be wrong as the few surviving birds need to also overcome constant threats to their habitats, often deriving from the environmentally harmful siting of energy infrastructures such as wind farms.
Two more cases of inappropriate siting in the NE part of Greece, currently at the public consultation phase, threaten the species’ last refuges in the country but, also, in Bulgaria, as one of the proposed plans (called “MAVRI PETRA”) is located at the Greek - Bulgarian border and only a breath from two of the neighboring country’s NATURA 2000 protected sites.
Even though this plan involves a number of turbines to be installed at extremely close distance from an existing Egyptian Vulture nest as well as from a Golden Eagle one (at 5 km and 2 km respectively), the Bulgarian authorities were never briefed or invited to take part in the consultation of the project, as is defined in the European Directives for proposed plans in one EU Member-state that could affect species and/or habitats protected by the NATURA 2000 Network in another Member-State.
This ‘omission’ from the Greek administration was stressed by BSPB/BirdLife Bulgaria in an official letter of complaint addressed to the authority responsible for the licensing (in this case the Greek Ministry of Environment) and co-signed by HOS/BirdLife Greece.
The second plan threating the species’ survival is located in the Kompsatos Valley and is nothing more than an attempt at revamping an existing project that was withdrawn one and half year ago, after HOS and other organisations and competent bodies documented that event the 5 km zone of exclusion, clearly defined by the National Species Action Plan, had not been taken into consideration in the siting of the proposed installation.
Taking into account that Greece has currently in force two National Species Action Plans aiming at improving the conservation status of the Egyptian Vulture and the other 3 vulture species that are present in the country (Griffon Vulture, Cinereous Vulture and the Bearded Vulture), the least that Greece's current administration can do is to reject plans that pose an imminent threat to these endangered species.