It is well known that vultures fly long distances, and many individuals end up crossing many national borders, as part of their migrations, regular seasonal movements or simply foraging trips. This adds complexity to vulture conservation – it needs to be implemented across several countries, but also adds excitement and a much appreciated international flavor. This is the story of K87, recently received at VCF from our Bulgarian colleagues from Green Balkans:
K87 is a male Griffon, hatched in 2012 in the Dutch Zoo of Dierenrijk and sent to Bulgaria to be released in the wild as part of the Vultures Return in Bulgaria LIFE08 NAT/BG/278 Project, that aimed to reintroduce the species in the Balkan mountains.
K87 was released by Green Balkans from the aviary of Central Balkan on 21.07.2014. The bird stayed in the area until October 2014 and then disappeared. Then suddenly this year, through Facebook, it was noted that some Polish colleagues were looking for the origin of a Griffon Vulture tagged K87. The bird had been photographed by Artur Sławenta and Marek Zarankiewicz on May 26-27th close to a Fallow Deer farm in Otmice, Opole.
This is the second griffon released within the Vultures Return Project in Bulgaria that has reached Poland. The first one, Freeda, a female Griffon, was photographed in August 2011 in the village of Dabovica.
The Vultures Return Project has now finished, and not only there are about 70 Griffon Vultures constantly present at the four release areas in the Balkan Mountains, but the species is now breeding in at least 5 areas, with 12-15 pairs. The first breeding success happened only last year, but this year several griffons will fledge from the wild.