Roc Genèse, the first wild bearded vulture nestling ever tagged in the French pre-Pyrenees, is now in Buseu, in Catalonia – where a local NGO is promoting wildlife watching and socio-economic development based on vulture watching (see http://buseu.es/en/ ). There is a vulture watching observatory in there, associated with a supplementary feeding station, that gathers hundreds of vultures. It is one of the sites in Europe where you can see the 4 species of vultures together (in the summer).
Roc Genèse hatched in 2016 and was tagged in its nest in the Aude, in the French eastern pre-Pyrenees, as part of the LIFE GYPCONNECT project. The nestling hatched in the easternmost known Pyrenean nest, therefore the closest to the Massif Central, where a reintroduction project is being implemented by the VCF, LPO and other partners.
Normally bearded vultures stay relatively close to the natal area on their first winter, and then disperse widely on their second winter, but Roc Genèse wandered widely already in his first winter: he flew widely across the Pyrenees. On his second winter, he has now showed up in Buseu (see photos).
Led by the League pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO), in partnership with the VCF, Vautours en Baronnies, Centre National d' Informations Toxicologiques Vétérinaires, Electricité Réseau Distribution France, Parc National des Cévennes, Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors, LPO Aude, and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie – Paris 6, the LIFE GYPCONNECT project 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 populations.
The LIFE GYPCONNECT project is part of the VCF strategy to restore the species in western Europe, now that the Alpine population is firmly re-established – 47 pairs last year, and with two pairs breeding in the wild in Andalucía last year (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.
Photos Pepo Navarro