The Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) and Junta de Andalucía released three more Bearded Vultures at Parque Natural de Cazorla in Andalusia as part of the reintroduction project there!
Releasing Bearded Vultures
On 18 May, one young bird coming from a captive-breeding background was released in the cave from Parque Natural de Cazorla, Segura y las Villas. The vulture, named Samburu, hatched in Vallcalent Specialised Breeding Centre in Lleida, Spain, managed by the VCF.
On 26 May, two more Bearded Vultures were released in the same cave at Cazorla. One of the vultures hatched in Vallcalent and was named Curro. The other one, called Cabrero, came from the Bearded Vulture captive breeding centre of Guadalentín, managed by the VCF following an agreement with the Junta de Andalucía.
Ahead of their release, all the young vultures are equipped with GPS tags to monitor their movements in the wild, which helps gather important information about their behaviour. We release the Bearded Vultures using the hacking method, where birds are released in a remote artificial nest to acclimatize to the environment until they fledge. This method is more or less the 'natural' way of fledging. The role of the parents at that time is to protect nestlings against predators, supply them with food and provide social contact. So, a team from the Junta de Andalucía will now monitor the birds to ensure their safety and feed them without human contact until they fledge the nest.
So far, the project released five birds in Andalusia this year. We will release more bird in the region in June and July.
Bearded Vulture reintroduction in Andalusia
Bearded Vultures went extinct in Andalusia in 1986 mainly due to direct persecution, wildlife poisoning and human disturbance at the nesting sites. To bring them back, Junta de Andalucía, and us here at the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) started a reintroduction project in 1996, and the former Fundación Gypaetus was also created to manage the project. Since the first releases in 2006 and with the release of eight individuals this year, 71 Bearded Vultures will be released in Andalusia by July this year in the provinces of Jaén and Granada. Thanks to tackling threats and releasing birds, the population of the species is gradually increasing. There are currently three Bearded Vulture pairs and 43 confirmed individuals in Andalusia. Hopefully, the chicks that hatched in the wild this season will survive and also stay in the region.