For the third year in a row, two young bearded vultures will be released in the mountains in central Switzerland today. The two birds were born in the bearded vulture specialized captive breeding center in Vallcalent (Spain). They arrived in Switzerland by plane and had some day’s rest in the Animal and Landscape park in Goldau, before being released today.
You can find the information about the event and a potential visit in the Swissmountains here>>
The team from the Swiss Foundation for the bearded vulture is writing a daily picture blog (in German) and you can read it here>>
This year the VCF and its partners are hoping to release 18 young bearded vultures into the wild in Europe – a new record, and a significant boost to the populations of this species in our continent. Due to the several reintroduction-restocking projects, bearded vultures are recovering in the continent: bearded vultures are now increasing rapidly in the Alps, and are breeding again in Andalusia!
The VCF coordinates the bearded vulture captive breeding network, under a mandate from EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria), and this year´s breeding season was again very good – a total of 25 young was produced, of which 18 will be released in the on-going reintroduction projects (Alps, Grands Causses-Massif Central and Andalusia), and in one restocking project (Corsica). The releases in Central Switzerland aim mostly to diversify the Alpine population genetic diversity, and therefore the individuals released come from relatively rare blood lines.
This last weekend 5 birds were released – one in Andalusia, two in Corsica and two in Vercors. All birds will be tagged and monitored closely by the VCF and it local partners. With the two birds released today, we have already set free 14 of the 18 bearded vultures this year.
The ultimate aim of all these projects is to create a bearded vulture European meta-population, with gene flow between the existing autochthonous populations in Europe (in the Pyrenees, Corsica, and Crete) with reintroduced populations and eventually with existing populations in North Africa and in Asia.