Fifteen months after the LIFE+ project GYPCONECT started, you can now read all about the exciting results – and the hard work put in – on the second project newsletter, just published (see below – in French). In the newsletter you can read about the birds released this year – two in the Grands Causses, and two in Baronnies – the first time ever bearded vultures were released in this pre-Alps site! You can also read about the progress with creating supplementary feeding sites to attract them to the right places to facilitate the connection between the Alps and the Pyrenees, as well as the work being done to reduce the collision threat in some of the electrical lines in the region.
The project, led by the League pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO), in partnership with the VCF and other partners, aims to establish a breeding population of bearded vultures in the Massif Central, as well as in the Pre-Alps, through reintroduction, and promoting dispersal movements between the Alps and the Pyrenean population.
The VCF is responsible for all the captive breeding part of the project – the source of the reintroduced birds, as well as for most of the monitoring of the birds, including tagging of birds, the monitoring of their movements, genetical monitoring of the population, among other research components. The VCF will also collaborate in the reintroduction operations – this year two birds were released in the Grands Causses and two in the Baronnies – the westernmost Pre-Alps.
This project is part of the VCF strategy to restore the species in western Europe, now that the Alpine population is firmly re-established – 43 territorial pairs in 2016 and a record 25 fledglings, and with the first breeding in the wild in Andalucía happening also in 2015 (following extinction there in the 80s, and the start of the reintroduction project 10 years ago), this project aims to promote movements of the species between Iberia and the Alps, thus promoting gene flow, which will also help increasing the genetic diversity of the alpine population, and thus accelerate the end of the reintroduction project there.
The reintroduction project in the Grands Causses has started 6 years ago, and with this project will see a significant boost. At least 4 birds per year will be released in the region in the next 5 years, two in the Grands Causses (Massif Central), and two alternately in Baronnies and in the Vercors – the westernmost pre-Alps.