This weekend the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) is transporting 7 black vultures (Aegypius monachus) from Spain to France. The vultures are coming from Spanish recovery centers in Extremadura and Andalucia, and most of them (6) will be released back in the wild for the reintroduction projects in Verdon and Baronnies, while a permanently wounded individual will be given to an animal park for captive breeding.
The vultures are being transported by a team from the VCF team by land, in a 24h trip that will cover 1600km. This is also a great international collaborative action involving 4 NGOs and two regional governments, all united for vulture conservation.
The black vultures are of wild origin, but were picked up wounded or weak in western Spain, and entered rehabilitation centers in Extremadura and Andalucia. Through a collaboration facilitated by the VCF, they were donated to the French reintroduction projects by the Spanish autonomous governments of Extremadura and Andalusia. These two regions currently hold the biggest black vulture population in Europe, about a half of the Spanish population (1200 breeding pairs).
The reintroduction project in France was initiated in 1988, in the Grand Causses region, where 53 individuals were released between 1992 and 2004. In 2004, the associations ‘Vautours en Baronnies’ and ‘Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux’ (LPO-PACA) started other reintroduction programmes in France, in the mountain areas of the Baronnies and Verdon, respectively, where another 50 individuals have been released so far.
These projects have been extremely successful and resulted in the establishment of breeding populations in all three sites, currently totaling 31breeding pairs. The reintroduction project will finish in the next 2-3 years, as the populations seem to be self-sustainable and doing well.
The reintroduction projects are carried out within the framework of the National Action Plan for the recovery of the black vulture population in France (2011-2016), prepared by LPO and supported by the France ministry of Environment.
One of the black vultures transported is permanently wounded, and as it cannot be released it will be transferred to the Parc Animalier des Pyrénées, to join the Black Vulture EEP (European Endangered species Programme), co–coordinated by EAZA and Planckendael Zoo (Mechelen, Belgium). The chicks born within this captivity breeding network will be released in reintroduction projects elsewhere.
See also the links below