The griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) is a scavenger bird that is present in the whole Iberian Peninsula, with the exception of some areas in Galicia, Asturias and some areas on the east coast. This bird is one of the few scavenger species that are not included in the red list an so not listed as threatened species.
The griffon vulture can reach a wingspan of 260 cm.
According to SEO estimations, in 2008 there were between 76,288 and 79,177 specimens and around 24.600 couples. This means an increase of the population of more than 42 % between 1999 and 2008.
Its diet is based on animal cadavers and very frequently on cattle cadavers left by shepherds. As well, there are some specific places called middens or vulture feeders, where traditionally, the dead cattle is left for the scavenger species.
The griffon vulture is been very affected by human changes on the environment.
The reason why the species is not threatened is maybe due to the respect and due to the fact that cattle ranchers have not respected the law that forbids to leave cadavers abandoned, the ones that have been eaten by the vultures and thus have helped the survival rates to go high even though their birth rates are not that high.
Some incidents such as the bovine spongiform encephalopathy can jeopardize the species, and even tough its been sub-served by humans in the past years even unconsciously, it is still unknown how the species population will evolve in the future.
The bovine spongiform encephalopathy incident triggered the development of a specific legislation to secure public health and avoid the transmission of this sickness to the cattle and humans. The legislation consist in avoiding the abandon of cattle cadavers in the countryside, not only where they died but neither in middens.
There are some communities where the existence of middens is allowed. It is important to develop the right legislation that consider the existence of those middens so that the survival of the species can be increased not threatening human health.