One of the vultures, a two-year-old named T66, was found near the carcasses of two dead dogs.
“This is the largest vulture poisoning incident in Israel in 14 years,” said Shaul Goldstein, director general of the Nature and Parks Authority.
“Tonight, the Nature and Parks Authority will conduct an emergency assessment and deliver a plan to deal with the poisoning situation to ensure the vultures in the country.”
Nine dead vultures found near Nahal Kina and Nahal Kamir in the south of the country on Sunday were discovered by the Nature and Parks Authority after receiving information about poisoning through chips placed on vultures.
Upon receiving data transmitted by Chips, nature and parks authority inspectors traveled to the area and discovered the carcasses of nine vultures along with the remains of a goat, which is suspected to be the source of the poison.
Both the goat and the birds will be taken to a veterinary institution in Beit Dagen for further inspection, and inspectors are scanning the area for more information and evidence, along with a venom-detecting dog. The Nature and Park Authority has started an investigation into the incident, after which a complaint will be lodged with the police.
On the off chance that there is still poisonous meat in the area, feeding centers have been set up to prevent additional birds from consuming the poison.
“This is a very serious and difficult incident that causes significant damage to vulture populations in the South,” a spokesman for the Nature and Parks Authority said.
Responding to the incident, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) highlighted the extent to which the venom attack has harmed the vulture population.
“There are about 200 vultures in Israel today. Nine vultures account for about 5% of the country’s total population,” the organization said.
The statement continued, “The venom of the vultures continues, and each time we are shocked anew.” “Unless the law is changed, it will be very difficult to catch criminals, and even if they are caught, it is doubtful whether they will be prosecuted.”
In November 2020, a report published by the Ministry of Environment Protection stated that “malicious poisoning incidents are the biggest and most significant threat to the survival of vultures in our country. About 40 of the 213 vultures injured between 2001-2015 % were affected. Incidence of poisoning. Seventy-four deaths of unknown cause should also be added to this, as they are estimated to have been caused by poisoning.”
Vultures maintain stable monogamous relationships throughout their lives and raise their chicks together, making the effects of the venom severe.
However, it is not only vultures that are deliberately affected by the venom every year. In July this year, an estimated 20 wild animals, including an endangered white-tailed eagle, were killed through the intentional use of an illegal pesticide.
A study conducted by the Science Division of the Nature and Parks Authority showed that on average there are 120 malicious venom attempts each year, killing hundreds of people. Most poisonings are carried out through the use of illegal insecticides, with criminals spreading it on food, causing animals to swallow it.
It has been estimated that since the 1950s, the extinction of many species in the region has been directly due to the use of toxic pesticides.
Hage Hakohen contributed to this report.