Albania’s Rare Vultures (Shkaba) Finally Making a Comeback

Albania’s Rare Vultures (Shkaba) Finally Making a Comeback

TIRANA, April 30

Albania takes pride in its black vulture symbol (shkaba e zeze). Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the population of this endangered species in Albania. Reports on the presence of black vultures in Albania have been extremely rare. Yet, the data provided by the Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS) confirm that a few individuals have been traced in Albania during the months of March and April.

“Species once thought as extinct are now reappearing. It will take a lot of work and efforts to bring them back to the previous state. With your essential support will continue to give our best to ensure their return as sooner as possible in Albania,” AOS highlighted on its announcement.

Cinereous Vulture Balkans
Cinereous Vulture Chrysoula journey through Albania. Credits to WWF-Greece and BSPB

The first black vulture passing through the country was Chrysoula. This young individual was tagged with satellite transmitters in November 2017 in Dadia, Greece, by the National Park Managing Authorities, WF Greece and the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) within the project “Conservation of Black and Griffon Vultures in the cross-border Rhodope Mountains”.
Based on the tracing data, Chrysoula entered Albania in Bilisht, crossed over Ostrovica and Memaliaj, approached the city of Vlora and descended south along Vlora River and flew towards Greece.

Cinereous Vulture Balkans
Riga’s journey through Albania and the Balkans. Credits to Hristo Peshev

The second individual named Riga was spotted in Albania on 23 April. Riga was released in 2018 in Kotel, Bulgaria from the Fund for Flora and Wild Fauna (Bulgarian NGO), in the framework of the project “Vultures Back to Life”. The vulture flew from Konica in Greece, crossed through Permet along the Vjosa Valley, continued through the eastern part of Albania to reach Kuksi and then Prizren in Kosovo, stayed in Uvac, Serbia and returned again to Kotel in Bulgaria.

AOS highlights that efforts for the conservation of vultures have significantly increased across the Balkans, Albania included.

Early reports the presence of this species in Albania, according to the existing literature, confirm that the presence of the black vulture in Albania has been rare.

In 1857, Lilford provided information on the presence of Cinereous Vulture in Butrint (Saranda). Exactly half a century later, Lodge (1907) reported seeing an individual in Durres. Many years later, Zeko in 1963 and later Nowak in 1989 gave information about the presence of this species as a resident but without providing specific data on the distribution and abundance.

Source: AOS

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