Two years after the LIFE+ project GYPCONECT started, you can now read all about the exciting results – and the hard work put in – on the fourth project newsletter, just published (see below – in French). In the newsletter you can read the latest news from the captive-breeding network, a summary of the breeding season last year in the Alps, and preliminary results for the ongoing breeding in the Alps and the Pyrenees. You can also find there details about some interesting movements of bearded vultures – Adonis, for example, a famous and well-travelled bird, pictured above, has returned to the Causses), a summary of all the recent cases of mortality detected in the GYPCONNECT project area, and the work being done in this project to fight the main threats to this species – poisoning, collision and electrocution in electricity lines.
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. It is funded by the LIFE EU fund, with co-funding from the MAVA foundation.
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 4 birds will be released, 2 in the Grands Causses and two in the Baronnies. Last year we managed to release 8 birds, from the Causses to Baronnies and to the 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 – 49 territorial pairs in 2017 and a record 31 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 8 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 few years.
Photo: Bruno Berthémy/VCF