Our Italian colleagues that have been following Tobia – the male captive bred Egyptian vulture released on the 9th of September from a site in Calabria as part of an experiment to test procedures and get crucial data on the feasibility and relevance of captive-breeding and restocking/reintroduction projects with this species, led by CERM (on behalf of the Italian Ministry of the Environment), in collaboration with the Vulture Conservation Foundation and the Egyptian vulture EEP – had already told us that he was winner. Around the release site, Tobia flew higher than the other 3 Egyptian vultures released, often interacting with other raptors, and he seemed to choose the best cliff for roosting.
It was then with hope – and anxiety, that we followed Tobia departing south from Sicily last Thursday. When he arrived in Malta midafternoon, alarm bells rang – we all know how Malta is notorious for bird killing. But thanks to the hard work of some Maltese birdwatchers and the police who guarded him all night long (see here), he roosted safely, and at 08.30 am yesterday flew off south. Would he make it to Libya?
Yes he did. At 20,30, 12 hours later, he landed near Misurata, after having flown 415 km, at the average speed of 35 km/h. Tobia landed not very far away from where Sara had already landed in her flight from Sicily (see here).
Well done Tobia, we are proud of you!