Grifon – how technology helps griffon vultures

• 2 minutes read

Monitoring and exact information on the status of the birds and their nests constitute the first step toward preserving this endangered species

About the client

The Grifon Association is dedicated to the protection and conservation of the last griffon vulture population in Croatia. Their long-term goal is to create conditions for the return of griffon vultures to the islands of Kvarner Bay and other former habitats. Their volunteers collect data on the most endangered birds of prey and educate children and the wider public about their role in nature.

Bird protection

The griffon vulture is a strictly protected species in Croatia under the Nature Protection Act. Females only lay one egg per year, and both the male and female birds incubate it. The young take their first flight over the Kvarner Bay, the only area in the world where they live on cliffs above the sea. Mating pairs remain together for life.

The Grifon Association monitors almost 1,000 ringed griffon vultures and over 7,000 pieces of data on sightings of the ringed birds. Soundly processed data are a necessary tool for the implementation of active protection of any endangered species.

Monitoring a population’s stability is required to prevent its extinction.

Why Power BI?

Ornithologist Goran Sušić, Ph.D. has been collecting data on griffon vultures for years, entering them in Excel spreadsheets. His major challenge was drawing conclusions from the multitude of data contained in different tables.

The most important data sets are those on individuals and their nests. Decisions related to certain aspects, e.g. the mortality of individuals, can be made based on viewing the gathered information and generated reports.

In this case, Microsoft’s Power BI tool facilitated a simple graphic display of the complex data contained in the tables.

Why use Span’s app for monitoring endangered species?

The Grifon App is used to enter and update data on birds and nests. Detailed reports facilitate structured monitoring and recording of information on birds and nests. The web app is hosted on Azure. The design is entirely adaptable to any screen, while data can also be easily entered via mobile devices.

Such an app is essential for anyone studying a species or an area over years,” said Goran Sušić, Ph.D.

Every individual counts. The app allows Association members to enter the name of an individual, its ID, species, ringing date and assign it to a nest. Furthermore, data on the bird’s status are also entered along with the cause in case of death. Data on the movement of individuals are collected thanks to GPS (Global Positioning System) and RFID (Radio-Frequency IDentification).

Each nest counts. The nests are defined according to existence, observation date, and occupancy, i.e. the number of young. Nest monitoring provides insight into the activities and progress of the young. Geographical distribution, i.e. the coordinates of a habitat, can be entered into the app.

VALUE FOR USERS

 

Technology will play a key role in the development of science and environmental protection. Soon, no credible analysis yielding the expected results will be possible without it,” said Sušić.

The Grifon endangered species monitoring app processes data on ringed griffon vultures. It also provides statistical analysis and graphic presentation of the results of processed data on various biological and environmental aspects of the species.

The fast pace of decline in the number of griffon vulture pairs is alarming. Maintaining the population requires installing and facilitating permanent feeders. Monitoring and exact information on the status of birds and nests is the first step toward preserving this endangered species. This is followed by taking steps toward protection and conservation, as well as increasing the population.

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