We here at the VCF, together with our partners Liga para a Protecção da Natureza (LPN) and Herdade da Contenda tagged yet another Cinereous Vulture nestling with a GPS tag in Southern Portugal to monitor the behaviour of the species. Cinereous Vultures naturally recolonised Portugal in 2010, with their population increasing, and such monitoring efforts prove valuable in supporting the conservation of the species in the country.
Tagging Cinereous Vulture Chaparrito
On Monday, 3 August, during the early hours of the morning, technicians of LPN equipped a Cinereous Vulture nestling that hatched in Contenda, Southern Portugal, with rings and a GPS tag provided by the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF), with funding by the MAVA Foundation. The Mayor of Moura, Álvaro Azedo, and the President of the Board of Directors of Herdade da Contenda, Manuel Bio, were present at the marking of the chick to show their support.
According to the feather analysis performed, the vulture is male and was baptised Chaparrito following a public vote. Chaparrito was approximately 85-90 days old when tagged and weighed 6.15 kg. Chaparrito is still at the nest and should hopefully leave in about 2 to 3 months. Then, we will be able to follow the movements of Chaparrito in the wild and share updates with the public.
Following Cinereous Vultures in Portugal
In 2018, we provided the GPS tag for the first Cinereous Vulture to be tracked using a GPS transmitter in Portugal and we continued to tag more birds ever since. This information provided by tracking these birds is vital to reveal any threats the birds may face as the species continues to make a comeback across Portugal. The insight from this data will be useful for conservationists to enable them to carry out actions to reduce the risk the birds face and help support the species comeback. You can follow these birds online by visiting the maps that are generated from the data collected from the GPS transmitters.
Working for the recovery of Cinereous Vultures
With the recovery of the species in Spain, there has been a range of conservation projects supporting the conservation of the Cinereous Vultures in Portugal such as the cross-borderLIFE Rupis project in the Douro Canyon. Liga para a protecção da natureza (LPN) also led on a multimillion Euro conservation project, Habitat Lince Abutre, which came to an end in 2014 and was supported by the EU's LIFE+ programme. The project established a network of 10 feeding sites and constructed 30 artificial nesting platforms in and around the Herdade da Contenda, which were instrumental to the successful breeding of pairs in southern Portugal.
Cinereous Vulture in Portugal
The Cinereous Vultures became extinct as breeding species in Portugal in the 1970s, mostly due to the use of poisoned carcasses targeting unwanted predators. An increasing population in Spain saw the species regularly visiting Portugal to forage, with the first pair breeding in central Portugal (Tejo Internacional) in 2010 (where now there is a small colony of more than fifteen pairs), and then in north-eastern Portugal (one single pair). And in 2015 the species recolonised Herdade da Contenda in south-eastern Portugal, and has bred there successfully ever since – there are currently ten breeding pairs there now.
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