The project to reintroduce the bearded vulture in Andalusia – led by the Junta de Andalucía, in collaboration with the Fundación Gypaetus and the VCF – is one of the finalists in an online vote to choose a relevant and successful project happening in a N2000 area – the network of protected areas designated by the Birds and Habitats Directives, the cornerstone of the European Union nature legislation.
As you know, this project is one of the most successful wildlife comebacks in the Iberian Peninsula, with the first pair breeding in the wild there last year. The bearded vulture was widespread in the mountains of southern Spain until the 40s, but intense human persecution and widespread poisoning cause it to disappear from southern Iberia. The last confirmed breeding took place in Cazorla in 1983, and in 1986 the last adult also disappeared.
In the end of the 80s a number of conservationists, led by the regional government, started to establish the first contacts (with the then precursor of the VCF), to try to start a reintroduction project. Releases in Andalusia started in 2006, after the Junta, and Fundación Gypaetus, established locally to manage the project, initiated an ambitious conservation programme, mainly focussed on minimizing the endemic tradition of poisoning the sierras to control predators. So far a total of 37 birds have been released there, including 6 last year – more will be released later this spring. At least 18 of these are still alive, and two pairs are now territorial and breeding. Including Tono and Blimunda, who raised Esperanza last year (see photo), the first wild bearded vulture to fly in Andalucia for more than 30 years.
Your turn now to help – vote for Esperanza, vote for bearded vultures.
When you click on the link below, it asks for your email – you will then receive an email with a link, and you need to click on it to confirm your vote.