The two captive-bred Bearded Vulture Alòs and Amic are experiencing their first winter in the wild, while the population grows with an experimental translocation of non-breding adults from the Pyrenees.
Alòs and Amic
Both the young Bearded Vultures that were released last May in the Tinença de Benifassà Natural Park moved out of the region. We last caught up with Alòs as he traveled to the mountain range of Picos d 'Urbión where he encountered other Bearded Vulture for the first time. Amic meanwhile was spending time around the regions of Teruel, Tarragona and Castellón and seen at feeding stations there.
In early December Alòs began to travel back south from the mountain range of Picos d 'Urbión via the Moncayo Massif mountains towards Teruell. At the same time Amic also began moving north and the two birds were reunited in the canyon of "Les Pedroses" in Ejulve and have been seen feeding together since then.
Experiment begins on the translocation of non breeding adults
The reintroduction of Bearded Vultures to the Maestrazgo region also includes a unique pilot experiment testing and evaluating the viability of translocating non breeding adults or floaters from the Pyrenees (where the population has grown and the number of non-breeders is significant) to the release site in Tinença de Benifassà Natural Park. This experiment will take place over the next five years, with the aim of translocating 20 adult birds that are clearly identified as non-breeders in the Pyrenees.
In November 2018 two adult birds, that had been previously been captured and marked with GPS transmitters, and were floaters,were recaptured in the Pyrenees and taken to the Maestrazgo. The two birds, a male named Otal and a female named Esera were released in theTinença de Benifassà Natural Park. The GPS data revealed that 'Esera' during the first hours after release moved north towards Tarragona and was later observed at the supplementary feeding station in the Parc dels Ports (the catalonian side of the Maestrazgo massif). On 21 November she began the northward travel back to Pyrenees to roughly the same spot where she was captured. Otal, however, is still in the Maestrazgo region nearly two months after the release. Since being released he was spotted and photographed by tourists at the Monastery of Saint María of Benifassà and in mid December discovered the hacking site and nearby supplementary feeding station.
We here at the Vulture Conservation Foundation stress that this is very much an experiment that will regularly be evaluated to ensure this action is not having a negative impact on the population in the Pyrenees. In 2019 there will be two further translocations, one in the Spring at the same time of the release of the captive-bred chicks and in the Autumn, in case confirmed floaters can be recaptured for translocation.