Environmental NGO BirdLife Cyprus announced on Thursday that a batch consisting of 14 Griffon vultures arrived on the island from Spain.

The arrival of the birds is part of the ‘Life with Vultures’ programme’s efforts to prevent their extinction and strengthen their extremely diminished population on the island.

The vultures were transferred to a special acclimatisation cage of the Game Fund in Limassol district where they will remain for around five or six months. As with the previously released vultures, these birds will be fitted with transmitters to monitor their movements, as well as for early rescue intervention in case a bird is in danger.

Last September, eight vultures previously donated from Spain were released into the wild to help boost the local population. Unfortunately, two of them died just days after being released due to their young age.

“Due to the slow breeding rate of the species and the frequent poisoning they suffer, the Griffon vultures’ population in Cyprus cannot recover without human intervention,” BirdLife said in a statement.

“In fact, it is predicted that the birds will disappear from the island within the next 15 years if targeted conservation actions are not implemented.”

According to the NGO, Spain is the ideal country to donate birds as it boasts the healthiest European vulture population, hosting 90-95 per cent of all vultures in the continent, with Griffon vulture pairs numbering 30,000.