The Nuremberg Zoo – one of our trusted partners within the bearded vulture captive breeding network – has moved their bearded vulture pair to a new aviary. The vultures are now in the old bear enclosure, which has been modified to provide all the conditions for the breeding pair. This big aviary has a stone wall at the edge, giving the birds always the possibility to stand on a higher position, far from visitors, and at the same time offers the bird the space for short flights
The VCF manages the bearded vulture captive breeding network, on behalf of EAZA. Following pionnering work done by the Alpenzoo Innsbruck, this captive breeding programme was created in 1978 to provide birds for the Bearded Vulture Reintroduction Project in the Alps. This captive-breeding programme was later included in the European Endangered Species programme (EEP) and currently includes over 40 centers, from private and municipal Zoos to private collections, specialized captive breeding centers, and Government-run wildlife recovery centers. Currently the network includes 161 birds, the vast majority owned by the VCF.
This captive-breeding programme has been increasing the number of chicks produced, and as a result more reintroduction projects have been started (Andalusia, Grands Causses and Corsica), as part of the VCF´s strategy to reestablish an European meta-population of Bearded Vultures, with gene flow between the existing isolated autochthonous populations in Europe (in the Pyrenees, Corsica, and Crete) with the reintroduced ones, and with populations in North Africa and in Asia.
The success of the captive breeding programme depends not only from the results obtained in the 5 specialized captive breeding centers, but also in the breeding that occurs in ther many zoos that participate in the programme – like the Nuremberg Zoo.
Working with all the partners, the VCF has managed to decrease significantly the mortality rate, as well increase the average age of death has increased, thus reducing the number of birds needed to replace losses and making available higher number of birds for the reintroduction projects.
These successes often are a direct result of the improvements of the housing conditions of the captive stock realized during the last years. In only two years more than a dozen zoos have built new aviaries, and currently more than 80% of the captive stock is housed in facilities that meet the guidelines established for the Bearded vulture EEP. Nuremberg Zoo is one of the latest examples.
The VCF would like to thank all EEP Partners that are working daily with these marvelous birds and working hard to improve their housing conditions, which will ultimately result in increased productivity, and therefore supporting all the ongoing reintroduction projects. All together for (bearded) vultures!