Tip:

This is a blog about vultures in Djibouti. Please feel free to comment. You can click on the images and they will open up larger in a new window and be easier to see. Also, you can translate the text by using the translate gadget on the right side of this blog.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Assamo in late April 2014 - back to Adigala

For much of late April Assamo was mostly in a very limited area (within 1 km sq) just off the main Tajoura-Obock road in an Acacia-wooded wadi, making a few trips into Tadjoura and visiting the abbatoir there. Although his movements were restricted to a small area, the Google satellite images did not show any obvious nearby cliffs where Assamo could nest.
Map showing concentration of locations along the Tadjoura - Obock road in northern Djibouti, late April 2014.
Just when we thought Assamo had settled back into a life in northern Djibouti around Tadjoura, on 1 May he moved back down to Adigala in Ethiopia.   Assamo was last in Adigala around 30 December 2013.  During the second half on 2013 Assamo spent much time in the vicinity of Adigala, but also moved between there and northern Djibouti at least twice (See earlier posts).

I guess that we can safely say that Assamo is not going to breed this spring and is not going to migrate.  This does not sound exciting, but really it is because the group of vultures (or any birds) that we know least about is the non-breeders.  In a species like Egyptian vulture, which matures only over a number of years, lack of information on this group undermines long-term conservation.

Assam's movements during late April 2014.  The locations in to the SW are near the town of Adigala

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Assamo in early April 2014

Assamo continues to follow the pattern of movement he has displayed since he was captured over a year ago.  During early April he has been moving around rural areas of Obock and Tadjoura, northern Djibouti.  His movements cluster around villages and settlements.  Some locations have been near cliffs, where he might nest, but there is no indication so far that he has settled down.  On 3 April Assamo visited Ras Siyan, and we thought he might migrate, but he then retreated.  By 15 April he was back moving between human settlements north of Tadjoura.

Assamo's movements during 1-15 April 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Threat to Egyptian and Gyps vultures in Europe

In the past 20 years huge declines have been seen in Gyps vulture populations in India and surrounding countries.  These declines have been linked to the veterinary use of Diclofenac, a non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drug.  Declines in vultures have had knock on effects like increases in wild dog populations and consequent potential impacts on human health.  Diclofenac seems also to be poisonous to Egyptian vultures.  Vulture populations in Africa seem also to be affected by the use of Diclofenac.  Apparent good substitutes for Diclofenac that do not affect vultures have been identified.

Recently, Dicolfenac has become available in Europe for veterinary applications.  This threatens vulture populations there, most of which are of conservation concern, all of which are legally protected.  Please consider signing the petition below calling for the banning of Diclofenac in Europe.

https://www.change.org/petitions/european-union-diclofenac-the-vulture-killing-drug-is-now-available-on-eu-market

Assamo still in Djibouti.

Since the last post Assamo has been moving around northern Djibouti much as he has for the past few months (see earlier posts).  Most locations over the past three weeks have been in and around Assa Gaila.  We did think that he may start migrating because from 6-8 March he moved close to where he would likely embark if he were to head north.   During early March Egyptian vulture migration across the Bab el Mandeb Strait is heavy.  However, during 9-10 March Assamo returned to the area around Assa Gaila.  So, at this very moment Assamo is showing neither signs of breeding nor migration.  The migration period has some time to run, so he may yet head north.
Movements by Assamo during 28 Feb - 10 March 2014.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

To 16 February

Assamo has, more or less, continued its pattern of movement seen in late January.  Currently Assa Gaila seems to be a focus, but Assamo makes forays out toward Tadjoura and Obock, and on 15 February he headed directly toward the Bab el Mandeb Strait (only to return to Assa Gaila on the 16th).  Egyptian vulture migration for those birds breeding in Eurasia is probably starting, so if Assamo is going to make a move, he should do so soon, and the route he would take is over the Bab el Mandeb Strait.  However, maybe he is an African bird and will settle down as a breeder.  Wait and see.

Assmo's movements from 9-16 February 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2014

To 9 February 2014

Assamo has spent the end of January and early February in northern Djibouti, mostly between Obock and Tadjoura. At times he has been quite settled, leading us to speculate that he might be nesting, but thus far he has always moved on and seems not to be breeding, yet. On 31 January he appeared to make a quick journey out to the islands in the Gulf of Tadjoura, and most recently, he has been in the vicinity of Assa Gaila, a frontier town with a population of about 700.

The migration of Egyptian vulture from Africa back to Eurasia is probably starting. We'll have to see if Assamo makes a move or stays.  Given Assamo's apparent age (adult) we'd guess that he should breed soon, if he has not done so before.

Movements of Assamo during 31 January - 9 February 2014



Monday, January 27, 2014

Assamo's movements in January

Assamo has spent all of January around Tadjoura and Obock.  It has made a few visits to Tadjoura town, and the abattoir where it was caught in March 2013.  Despite the abundant available food at the abattoir, Assamo has not visited it since he was caught, suggesting to us that an effect of the trapping is that birds might avoid the capture area.

Movements of Assamo during January 2014.

Locations of Assaamo in Tadjoura.  The abattoir is located where the three locations at the west end of town are.