The Griffon vulture, Malvasia, has been released back into the wild along with two other vultures as part of the LIFE Under Griffon Wings project in Sardinia.
The three birds that were released in Sardinia have all spent time over the last year at the Wildlife Recovery Centre in Bonassai. Malvasia, a wild born Sardinian Griffon vulture, has spent the last year at the Centre after being found in a distressed state. Vets at the Centre diagnosed Malvasia with a neurological condition, but thanks to the staff he was able to make a full recovery.
The two other birds released alongside Malvasia have been residents at the Wildlife Recovery Centre since April and are part of the Sardinian population restocking programme. One of the two Spanish Griffon vultures was released back in April as part of the 14 vultures that were released but it was found a few weeks later in a weakened state, whilst the other bird released back into the wild now also came from Spain for restocking but was in too poor a health to be released along with the other vultures back in April, so was kept in the Centre until their health improved.
All three birds were released back into the wild at Monte Minerva.
Griffons vultures in Sardinia
Distributed over the whole island up to the late 1940s with an estimated population of 800 – 1200 individuals, the population of Griffon vultures in Sardinia dropped rapidly after the Second World War until the outlawing of poisoned baits in 1977. Now the species is restricted to the north-western part of the island and during a 2013 survey consisted of just 30 territorial pairs.
LIFE Under Griffon Wings
In efforts to improve the conservation status of the species the LIFE Under Griffon Wings project, led by Sassari University, is working hard to improve the food availability, tackle illegal poisoning and enhance the population by translocating between 45 and 60 birds from wildlife rehabilitation centers in Spain to Sardinia.