After two decades of recovery, species of black vulture and other necrophagous birds (i.e. feeding on carrion) face a new threat, namely a lack of food. This has been caused by several factors, including the emergence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), which provoked strict measures to prevent its spread; the most important, with regard to these birds being an obligation to collect and dispose of sheep, goat and cattle corpses in central Spain. The management of by-products of hoofed animals coming from hunting has also changed in recent years, due to considerations of disease spread, resulting in the reduction of food availability for scavenging species. Stricter health controls from farms, to slaughterhouses and meat production facilities have also reduced waste food sources. In addition, the decline of extensive livestock grazing in recent years, particularly of sheep, reduces considerably the potential biomass available for black vulture and other priority bird scavenger species of European Community interest.
The LIFE FEEDING SCAVENGERS project aims to protect black vultures in their natural habitats in central Spain, using feeding stations in locations that reduce inter-specific competition. Specific project objectives are to: