Spanish vultures released in Cyprus to replenish population

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. conservationist / ˌkɒn sərˈveɪ ʃə nɪst / (n.) – a person, usually a volunteer, who protects the environment

    The conservationists rescued an elephant from hunters last night.

  2. acclimatize / əˈklaɪ məˌtaɪz / (v.) – to adjust to a new situation, place, or environment

    I lived on a tropical island all my life, so I need to acclimatize to a place with snow.

  3. fauna / ˈfɔ nə / (n.) – the collection of animals in a particular area

    The North American fauna includes grizzly bears, white-tailed deer, and bald eagles.

  4. intermingle / ˌɪn tərˈmɪŋ gəl / (v.) – to mix and combine two different things by interacting with each other

    The orientation can help exchange students from all over the world to intermingle.

  5. eradicate / ɪˈræd ɪˌkeɪt / (v.) – to destroy or remove something completely

    The new vaccine eradicated the virus.


Read the text below.

Some 15 Griffon vultures from Spain have been released into the wild in Cyprus to help revive the east Mediterranean island’s population that’s dropped to just 8-10 birds because of deliberate poisoning, conservationists said.

The LIFE with Vultures CY group said the large birds were initially brought to the east Mediterranean island nation nearly a year ago and stayed in a specially constructed cage to get acclimatized to local conditions before their release.

Cyprus’ Game and Fauna Service has attached GPS transmitters to all the vultures to monitor their movements and well-being. From previous releases of vultures elsewhere in Europe, it’s expected that the birds will intermingle with the remaining indigenous vulture population at feeding and roosting locations.

Conservationists say restoring the local vulture population to its former numbers remains a long-term goal, with the most pressing issue being to eradicate the biggest threat to the species which is the use of poison bait in the wilderness.

A recent study suggested that the species of bird would disappear from Cyprus in about 15 years if nothing was done to eliminate the poisoning threat and replenish the population with vultures brought from abroad.

Another 15 vultures flown in from Spain — which hosts 90-95% of Europe’s population of the birds — will be released in Cyprus next year.

Griffon vulture, which can grow up to 1.2 meters (4 feet) long and have a wingspan of 2.8 meters (9 feet), feeds on animal carcasses.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The vulture population in Cyprus dropped to just 8-10 because of deliberate poisoning. Why do you think these birds are being poisoned deliberately? Discuss.
  • Conservationists say that the most pressing issue is to eradicate the use of poison bait on vultures. What do you think the government should do to achieve this (ex. imprison those caught poisoning the birds, make the vultures’ feeding areas off-limits)? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Elephants, tigers, and penguins are only some of the most threatened animal species in the world. What do you think would happen if these animals became completely extinct? Discuss.
  • Are you taking any active measures to help conserve animals? If yes, what actions? If not, what would you like to be able to do? Discuss.