Last year we released 18 young Bearded Vulture chicks into the wild in five different regions across Europe. For the 2019 release season we will aim to at match this number and depending on the results of the sexing of the young birds release even more.
Captive breeding success
This year has been a bumper year within the captive breeding network of zoos, specialised breeding centres and private collections, in total 30 chicks are currently being raised, one of the best years on record.
The Bearded Vulture release season will begin in France in the Parc naturel régional des Grands Causses in the Massif Central, France, as part of our LIFE GYPCONNECT project on Tuesday 6 May. As part of this vulture conservation project that aims to connect this reintroduced population with the populations of Bearded Vultures in the Pyrenees and ultimately with the Bearded Vultures in the Alps, two other releases are planned this season. A second release is planned for the Parc naturel régional du Vercors in the pre-Alps on Saturday 18 May followed by another release at Parc naturel régional des Grands Causses towards the end of May.
The release of Bearded Vultures in Andalucía, Spain, has been running for 13 years and this year we will release young birds in three sets of releases. The first will take place between 16 and 18 May followed by a second at the beginning of June and the last release of the release season will be in Andalucía at the end of June.
The Maestrazgo reintroduction project
Our latest reintroduction project saw two young birds released in the Maestrazgo region of Spain in 2018, This year we will once again release birds as part of this reintroduction project at the beginning of June.
An island population
The Corsican population of Bearded Vultures are thought to be the last remaining remnants of the historic central European and Alpine population of the species. This year we will return to the French island to release birds in mid-June, the first releases of captive-bred birds since 2017. The Corsica population has declined significantly in the last 10 years leaving just 4-5 breeding pairs that have been suffering low breeding success over the last couple of years.
We would like to thanks all the dedicated teams across the network who have worked tirelessly to ensure the 2018/19 breeding season has been such a great success. This hard work will be paid off now as the breeding season comes to an end and we announce our plans for the releases of the young birds, seeing the young birds released and flying free across Europe continuing the efforts to restore the species to its former range.