After extinction in the beginning of the 20th century, bearded vultures started to be reintroduced in the Alps in 1986, in a project coordinated by the VCF, and implemented by a number of partners in 4 countries across the mountain chain. First breeding happened in 1997, and the population has been since then steadily growing.
This year 43 pairs have been observed nesting – nine more than last year! A total of 34 clutches were produced (5 more than last year), from which 25 chicks fledged successfully –a new record, and six more than last year (see table).
The increase in the number of fledglings, the number of occupied territories and of clutches is a very positive sign of a healthy growing population (see graph). The productivity (number of chicks per mature pair) was this year 61%, also slightly better than last year (58%).
There are two main nuclei, one around the Mont Blanc in the west (France-Italy-Switzerland), and the other one in the Engadine-Stelvio area (Swiss-Italian border) (see map).
All this data – and a lot more – are stored in the database of the International Bearded Vulture Monitoring, a programme established to monitor and research the species in the Alps, which is now coordinated by the VCF. We would like to thank all staff and volunteers from the IBM partners, for their fantastic follow up and monitoring efforts, and for inputting the data into de alpine database.
The return of the bearded vultures to the Alps – still continuing – is one of Europe´s greatest wildlife comebacks – something we can all be proud of!