Following a successful journey from the Green Balkans captive breeding centre, the bearded vulture chick we reported on last week has been released into the wild in Andalusia
The young bearded vulture transported from Bulgaria to Spain, and a second chick raised at Guadalentin centre, were presented on Friday 25 May at a public ceremony in the Andalusian town of Castril attended by local town residents, school children and the Environment Delegate for Junta de Andalucia, Inmaculada Oria. The two birds, Suertesomera and Lapiz, named during the ceremony with the help of local school children, were then taken to the mountains of the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park before being released into the wild.
Both these birds were tagged with a GPS transmitter, and the VCF in collaboration with local partners will monitor and follow their progress closely.
The bearded vulture reintroduction programme in Andalusia (Sierras de Cazorla, Segura, Castril and Las Villas), led by the Junta de Andalucia, in collaboration with Fondación Gypaetus and the VCF, started back in 1996, with the first birds being released in 2006 following their extinction in the area in the 1980’s. Since 2006,a nd including these year´s birds, 54 birds have been released in the area, with the releases becoming a popular annual fixture in the diary for locals. The reintroduction programme in the areas was boosted in 2015 when a pair began breeding, marking an important milestone for bearded vulture comeback. This year two pairs are successfully raising a chick in the wild, while two other territorial pairs are well established and may begin breeding in the next few years.
The chicks released in Andalusia, and the others the VCF will be releasing this Spring across Europe, are originated in the captive breeding programmes and network coordinated by the VCF under mandate from EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria).
Photo credit: Rafael Arenas González