The 6 black vultures (Aegypius monachus) that the VCF has transported this weekend from Spain to France arrived well and are now recovering in the acclimatization aviaries in Gorges du Verdon (see photos) and Baronnies, where they will be released in a few months.
All these birds, of wild origin, had entered recovery centers in Extremadura and Andalucia after being picked up exhausted or weak, and will now be released back in the wild in Verdon and Baronnies, as part of the reintroduction projects there.
The operation to transport these vultures was once again a success – as is this international collaboration between the VCF, the French reintroduction projects and the Spanish autonomous governments of Extremadura and Andalusia: building on the growing population of black vultures in Spain (more than 2000 pairs now, the Spanish authorities (regional and national) are now helping re-establish the species in southern France, where the species had gone extinct in the middle of the XX century.
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 later other reintroduction programmes 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 31 breeding pairs. The reintroduction project will finish in the next 2-3 years, as the populations seem to be self-sustainable and doing well.