A second wild young bearded vulture hatched recently (March 20th) in the wilds of the Parque Natural de las sierras de Cazorla, Segura & Las Villas (Jaen) – the little bearded vulture fathered by Tono and Blimunda, the first bearded vulture pair to breed in the wild in southern Spain after extinction there in the mid-80s. This is the 3 young hatched by Tono and Blimunda, and the 5th in Andalusia, since the start of the reintroduction project in 2006.
The first successful breeding in the wild in Andalusia happened three years ago (2015), when Tono – a male released in 2006, the first year of the project, and Blimunda, a female released in 2010, manged to fledge a young, aptly named Esperanza (hope). The couple decided to rest the following year, but last year they successfully bred again, and were followed by a second pair nearby. Now this year again the two pairs laid eggs and successfully hatched young.
Restoring the species in Andalusia is the objective of the reintroduction project which started in 2006 and is led by the Junta de Andalusia. In this project young bearded vultures raised in captivity by captive pairs of bearded vultures are released into the wild just before fledgling, through hacking, a technique originally used in falconry. The bearded vulture captive breeding network is managed by the VCF and includes the specialized captive breeding center in Gudalentin (itself in Cazorla), managed by the Fundación Gypaetus and the Andalusian regional government.
Since 2006 a total of 49 individuals have been released in the natural parks of the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas and Sierra de Castril. Parallel to this, the Andalusian authorities have adopted and are implementing a comprehensive strategy to fight against the use of poison baits – because some of the released birds have died poisoned.
Later this year some more young bearded vultures will be released in Cazorla. In the meantime, we hope that the two young birds growing up in their nests in the wild fledge successfully!
Photos: Paco Montoro