After spending two days in the centre of Cazorla the delegates of the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2018 headed up to the mountains on a field outing to close the annual gathering of bearded vulture conservationists.
Canine anti-poisoning units
Demonstration of the anti-poison canine unit (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
At the begining of the Annual Meeting delegates heard from the world leading work the Junta de Andalucía have been doing on fighting illegal wildlife poisoning and during the field trip we got to see a demonstration of the anti-poisoning canine units. During the demonstration the team hid baits containing the illgeal insecticide Carbofuran around a site along and released a dog trainned to detect poisoned baits. When the dog found the bait they indicated to the handler the location by sitting next to location where the bait was hidden. The dogs successfully managed to find all the baits that were hidden in the demonstration site in remarkable speed, the unit of around 30 dogs are at the frontier of making the bearded vultures in Andalucia safe.
Guadalentín Specialised Breeding Centre
The team at Fundación Gypaetus also took the delegates to behind the scenes of the Guadalentín Specialised Breeding Centre and even though breeding season had just began we managed to witness some of the population of the centre through the extensive camera system installed in the aviaries.
Heading up the mountains looking for bearded vultures
Participants visiting the breeding grounds on Tono and Bliminda (c)Hansruedi Weyrich
The highlight of the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2018 was undoubtably the spotting of not one but three bearded vultures high up in the Sierra Cazorla and not at a distance but fying directly overhead to much excitement of everyone. Two of the three were identified as Tono and Blimunda, Andalucia’s successful breeding pair of birds. Seeing Tono fly above his head was very special for one person in the crowd, Hans Frey. Tono, the male released back in the first year of the Andalucian reintroduction project, came from Hans’ centre, the Richard Faust Zentrum Breeding Centre in Austria, so it was brilliant he was able to observe him in the wild during this meeting.
With the end of the the field trip, the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2018 has drawn to a close. We here at the Vulture Conservation Foundation would like to thank our co-hosts Junta de Andalucía and Fundación Gypaetus and to Municipality of Cazorla and Province of Jaén for their generosity and support in hosting this important meeting.
Next year the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2019 will be held in Andorra from the Thursday 14 to Sunday 19 November 2019.