One and a half years after the LIFE+ project GYPCONECT started, you can now read all about the exciting results – and the hard work put in – on the third project newsletter, just published (see below – in French). In the newsletter you can read about the movements of several bearded vultures in the region this past winter, a first glimpse into the current breeding season results in the Pyrenees, news about the specific supplementary feeding points we created for the species as part of the project, some numbers from our captive-breeding network, action about minimising the risk of collision and electrocution, the work being done as part of the project to identify potential cases of poisoning, and finally some initiative in the Parc National Cevennes with local hunting organisations to promote the sue of non-lead ammunition.
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 a whopping 8 birds will be released, 4 in the Grands Causses and two each in the Baronnies and Vercors– 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 two pairs now breeding in in Andalucía (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 7 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.