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Monitoring with and for raptors in Europe

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Birds of prey for a healthy environment

Birds of prey, also known as raptors, perform an important role by acting as environmental indicators. Their presence reflects a healthy ecosystem, while a decline in their numbers can signify contamination of the local environment.

Climate Change and Environment

The 'Monitoring with and for raptors in Europe' (Euraptor) project is developing a Europe-wide network for monitoring birds of prey. The initiative built on the success of the Raptor Ecotox initiative (funded by the Intra-European Fellowship (IEF)) by helping to secure the long-term viability of the European network. The consortium has also supported recovery plans for threatened species such as the lanner falcon (Falco biarmicus feldeggi). A recent study at the University of Palermo in Italy has led to a greater understanding of the environmental pressures on the lanner falcon, something that will contribute to its recovery. Presence or absence of the species can be used as an indication of the condition of the local environment. The project has also coordinated a special edition of the academic journal 'AMBIO' concerning the monitoring of European birds of prey. Researchers have conducted studies into contaminants in lanner falcons and their prey through fieldwork and the use of sampling techniques. Laboratory analysis is employed when a statistically significant number of lanner samples have been collected, something that takes time due to the birds' rarity. Samples have also been collected from peregrine falcons for comparative purposes. Work carried out by the Euraptor initiative can contribute to greater biodiversity and improved environmental and human health. The creation and growth of a European network will help in the maintenance and recovery of raptor populations and their habitats, together with a reduction in chemicals threatening the ecosystem and human population. Euraptor will therefore aid environmental and human health policymakers, environmental law enforcement bodies, and conservationists.

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