NICOSIA, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- A group of conservationist organizations have released 15 Griffon vultures into the wild in Cyprus in a bid to revive the dwindling local population.
These vultures, which were brought from Spain, are all equipped with GPS tracking devices for monitoring and support, said Birdlife Cyprus, one of these conservationist groups, in a statement on Friday.
"Based on past experience and from the results of similar projects in Europe, it is expected that the Spanish Griffon will join the remaining birds in Cyprus and will soon start using the same feeding and roosting areas," the statement said, adding that the release will boost the birds' local population to 29.
A BirdLife Cyprus spokeswoman said that "without the import of the vultures from Spain the griffons in Cyprus could become extinct within 15 years."
The number of griffon vultures dwindled fast in the past five to six decades in the face of threats from habitat loss, food scarcity, poisoning, and power line collisions.
The birds were donated by Spain's Extremadura region, which hosts 90-95 percent of Europe's vulture population. They arrived in Cyprus 10 months ago and were kept in a special cage near the southern city of Limassol for acclimatization.
This release is part of the ongoing "LIFE with Vultures Cy" project, in which BirdLife Cyprus, Terra Cypria, the Vulture Conservation Foundation, and Cyprus' state Game Service have participated.
BirdLife said that 15 more griffon Vultures will be brought from Spain and be released into the wild next year.