Director - José Tavares

José Pedro Tavares, a Portuguese national, is a biologist with a life-long vocation and action in the field of nature conservation. After doing his university in Lisbon, he went on to the UK to do a PhD on ornithology (the study of birds) . He then worked for the Portuguese Government National Park Service, and spent 12 years at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), a UK charity, and the biggest nature conservation organization in Europe, and one of the biggest in the world. There he managed the RSPB programme in five countries: Turkey, where he is based, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal and Spain. At the VCF since February 2013, José is enjoying very much the opportunity to build an organisation from scratch. He aims to develop the VCF into a sustainable, effective, leading organization securing the protection of vultures and their habitats. This work involves not only on-the ground conservation projects and activities on vultures, but also, curcially, organizational development and management.  On his (limited) spare time, José tries to go birdwatching, but he is also a part-time foreign correspondent (for a Portuguese newspaper), and enjoys practicing sport – mostly soccer, squash, and jogging.

Scientific and conservation coordinator - Franziska Lörcher

Franziska Lörcher has her first encounter with Bearded Vultures already as a girl when the first three young vultures where released in Switzerland. After an apprenticeship as an optician and several years working she completed high-school and studied biology in Bern and Zurich in Switzerland. For her Masters' thesis she got back to the bearded vultures. She investigated the genetic diversity of the reintroduced Bearded Vulture population in the Alps. She works part time for the Swiss Foundation for the Conservation of the Bearded Vulture where she is responsible for the observation of the released young Bearded Vultures and other tasks. For VCF she is the scientific and conservation coordinator and works for example in three different LIFE projects for the monitoring, GPS marking and genetic analysis of vultures. For her it is very interesting to see how vulture conservationist work together throughout Europe and experience the development of the new foundation. In her spare time Franziska likes to be outdoors, for hiking, climbing, snowshoe walking, skitouring, and bird and other animal watching.

Vulture Programmes Manager - Jovan Andevski

Jovan Andevski was born in Skopje, Macedonia, and studied Biology there. His first working experience was as a project assistant on a vulture conservation project in Macedonia (2003). Since 2008 he is working as the coordinator for the Balkan Vulture Action Plan, firstly for the Black Vulture Conservation Foundation, then for the Frankfurt Zoological Society and since 2013 for the Vulture Conservation Foundation. During the last 15 years he worked on vulture research and conservation, project management and coordination in the Balkan region and Spain, and has also been involved in the Black Vulture reintroduction project in France and the Griffon Vulture reintroduction project in Bulgaria and Sardinia and also involved in actions against poisoning. He was also involved in the preparation of the Multi-species Action Plan to conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP), Cinereous Vulture Flyway Action Plan and the European Species Action Plan for the Cinereous Vultures.


Vultures captive breeding manager - Alejandro Llopis Dell

Born in 1964, in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Alex did his basic studies in Spain. He is a veterinarian from the Vienna University. During his veterinarian studies he collaborated in the Bearded Vulture Reintroduction Project in the Alps for the releasing program, from 1986-89 in Austria and from 1991-1994 in Switzerland, and at the same time as volunteer in the Richard Faust Zentrum. In 1996, he became technical responsible from the Andalusia Autonomous breeding centre “Centro de cría Guadalentín” which is building the basis of the Andalusia Bearded Vulture Reintroduction Project. Since 2006 he is technical responsible for the project area of the Catalan recovery centre “Centre de Fauna Vallcalent” where we reproduce Bearded Vultures and Lesser Grey Shrikes. In 1995 he became coordinator for the Foundation for the Conservation of the Bearded Vulture in all matters, which concern the activities in Spain. And in 2008 he became officially a member of the FCBV (now VCF) board. he coordinates the Bearded Vulture EEP in Spain since 1996, and collaborate in the International EEP of this species. In 2017 has become officially the coordinator of the Bearded vulture European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). 

Financial Manager and Administrative Assistant - Alice Gama

Natural from Porto, Portugal, 1979. BSc in Biology (Aveiro). Between 2003 and 2006 developed research and field work about birds of prey in Costa Rica and USA, and the impact of powerlines on bird populations. From 2007 to 2016, she worked at ATN, in Northeast Portugal, as a conservation manager, being in charge of projects, including LIFE projects. At VCF, she is responsible for the financial management and supporting the organization's administration. In her spare time, Alice has started a sustainable farming family project, and works as a farmer and manager, producing organic olive oil and almonds in the Northeast of Portugal, close to nesting habitat of Griffon and Egyptian Vultures.



Bearded vulture captive breeding assistant - Carmen Calero

Carmen was born in 1980 in Granada, Spain. She has been fascinated by birds since she remembers, especially big birds of prey. She studied Biology at Granada University. She worked in zoos for 5 years, and also in conservation projects doing mainly fieldwork (capturing, tagging and monitoring) and breeding, in different countries of Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. Her first direct touch with Bearded Vultures was as a volunteer in the Bearded Vulture Captive Breeding Centre of Guadalentín in 2003, and since then she has been trying to work with this amazing bird. She collaborated with the South African Bearded Vulture conservation Project from 2009 to 2012 and then joined the FCQ managing the Bearded Vulture breeding for six years. In June of 2020, she started working as the technical breeding assistant in the Bearded Vulture breeding unit in Vallcalent.

Bearded Vulture breeding center "Guadalentín" Manager - Pakillo Rodríguez

Pakillo Rodríguez has a degree in Biology (Speciality in Zoology) from the University of Granada and Veterinary Technical Assistant. Since childhood, he has been passionate about wildlife and was breeder of many species of birds, mammals, arthropods, reptiles, and fish. Between 1996 and 2006, he worked at the Science Park Museum in Granada, where he carried out functions such as attending to the public, designing and giving workshops and caring for and maintaining live animal exhibitions,  including the tropical butterfly farm among others. Since 2006, he has been working as a captive-breeding technician for the Bearded Vulture at the Bearded Vulture Breeding Centre Guadalentín in Cazorla and became the manager of this centre in 2008. The Andalusian Government (Junta de Andalucía) owns this centre, which is part of the Bearded Vulture Reintroduction Programme in Andalusia. It is currently managed by the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) and has a staff of five people, all members of the VCF, who are Margarita Limón, Julián Moreno, José F. Martínez, Ángel J. Ochotorena and Pakillo Rodríguez. 


Research officer - Louis Phipps

Louis Phipps is a conservation biologist who grew up in rural England where he became fascinated by wildlife and concerned with the impacts of human activities on nature and the planet as a whole. After studying Zoology at Durham University (UK), he traveled to South Africa where he coordinated field research and assisted with the daily management of a wildlife reserve for six years. Through his research into the spatial ecology of African white-backed and Cape vultures using GPS tracking data, Louis attained an MSc in Veterinary Science from the University of Pretoria and a PhD from Nottingham Trent University, and is a member of the IUCN-SSC Vulture Specialist Group. Louis also has practical experience in the management of wildlife populations and their key habitats, as well as anti-poaching activities. Following his PhD Louis worked for the WILD Foundation’s Mali Elephant Project to develop the monitoring and research strategy and assist with project administration. Louis is looking forward to contributing to the VCF’s research activities and overall mission to conserve vultures.



Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project Officer - Uroš Pantović

Uroš Pantović is a Serbian biologist, born 1986, in Čačak, Serbia. The fascination and interest for birds has followed him since high-school and finally led to enrolling in the Faculty of Biology in Belgrade, where he completed his BSc studies. After completing his MSc studies in Zoology at the University of Novi Sad. Following his love for birds, Uros volunteered in the Black Vulture Conservation Foundation in Mallorca for several months, where he got his first opportunity to experience vulture conservation. Through his close association with Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia/BirdLife Serbia, Uroš gained experience relevant to conservation of various groups of birds and also in dealing with bird crime issues, such as poaching and poisoning. For several years, he also worked as a conservation biologist and programmes manager at a nature reserve near his home town. At VCF, Uroš is working on improving the situation with vultures and wildlife poisoning in the Balkans Anti-Poisoning Project (BAPP) and is looking forward to contribute to VCF’s overall mission to protect and conserve vultures.


Events, Outreach and Communications Officer - Eleni Karatzia

Eleni Karatzia is a communications specialist who grew up in Cyprus and studied Marketing at Durham University in England. Her expertise consists of content creation, digital campaigns, and event organisation, having worked in England, Malta and Cyprus. Even though she was always fascinated by wildlife, she fell in love with birds after working for a year at BirdLife Malta. There, her main goal was to connect the public with nature, which she did through specific activities and targeted communication actions. At the VCF, she is responsible for creating engaging content, raising awareness about vulture conservation and the VCF, and coordinating events.


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