The last bulletin from the Theniet El Had National Park (Atlantica, see photos) includes details of recent observations of adult bearded vultures in that Algerian national park in 2012 and 2014, providing good evidence that the species is still surviving in the country. Bearded vultures were almost completely extirpated from northern Africa – extinct in Tunisia, there are now only a handful of known pairs in Morocco, while there was no recent information from Algeria.
The bearded vultures in North Africa belong to the same subspecies as their European counterparts (the other subspecies lives in Eastern-Southern Africa), and were once part of a metapopulation that reached from the Atlas Mountains through to Iberia, the Pyrenees, the Alps and down through the mountains of the Balkans to Crete and Turkey. The only remaining populations are in the Pyrenees, Corsica and Crete, and the VCF has also successfully restored the species in the Alps following its extinction there in 1913. The VCF is now reintroducing it in France´s Grands Causses (establishing a link between the Alps and the Pyrenees), and in Andalucía (where a pair is now building a nest, the first time since extinction in the 1980s). The VCF vision is to restore the species across its Eurasian range – these news from Algeria give some hope that we may be able to prevent the extinction of the species in Northwest Africa altogether.
We hope the staff of the Theniet El Had National Park and Algeria’s National Agency for the Conservation of Nature continue to update us on the status of the species there.