In 1986, Bearded Vultures disappeared from the skies of Andalusia. One of the ways to bring the species back from extinction was the establishment of the Bearded Vulture captive breeding centre of Guadalentín in 1996, aiming to produce captive-bred chicks for release into the wild. The Centre has come a long way since then, and today, it breeds the most Bearded Vultures in captivity every year. Guadalentín is the most important Centre within the Vulture Conservation Foundation's (VCF) Bearded Vulture Captive Breeding Network (EEP) as it contributes the most chicks every year to reintroduction programmes in Andalusia, but also in other regions across Spain, France and the Alps. It also specializes in double adoptions and takes young Bearded Vultures from other Bearded Vulture EEP partners to naturally rear the chicks. As of 2020, the VCF also assumed management of the Centre following an agreement with the Junta de Andalucía. Watch a video all about Guadalentín showing the commitment of the staff, how they carry out double adoptions and a peak into the first releases of the season!
2019/20 Bearded Vulture breeding season in Guadalentín
The Bearded Vulture Captive Breeding Centre of Guadalentín houses 27 Bearded Vultures and breeds the most chicks within our Bearded Vulture (EEP). Another crucial component of the Centre is that it specializes in double adoptions and raising chicks coming from other centres and zoos within the network, therefore facilitating the natural rearing of young vultures. This breeding season, the Centre produced a total of nine chicks!
Bearded Vulture release season 2020
The first Bearded Vulture releases took place on Saturday 9 May at the Parque Natural de la Sierra de Castril in Andalusia. This year, the VCF is foreseeing the release of 21 birds across six regions in Spain, France and the Alps, which will be transferred by planes or carriers. In Andalusia, a minimum of 8 birds will be released as part of the reintroduction project there. The first release on Saturday 9 May will be followed by three more releases anticipated to take place in May, June and July. Two individuals that hatched from the VCF-managed centre in Vallcalent, Lleida, will also be released in Andalusia's wild this season. Furthermore, three chicks that hatched in Guadalentín will be released in the Swiss Alps (2) and in the Natural Park of Vercors in France (1).
Bearded Vulture reintroduction in Andalusia
Bearded Vultures went extinct in Andalusia in 1986 mainly due to direct persecution, wildlife poisoning and human disturbance at the nesting sites. To bring them back, Junta de Andalucía, and us here at the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) started a reintroduction project in 1996, and the former Fundación Gypaetus was also created to manage the project. Since the first releases in 2006 and with the release of eight individuals this year, 71 Bearded Vultures will be released in Andalusia by July this year in the provinces of Jaén and Granada. Thanks to tackling threats and releasing birds, the population of the species is gradually increasing. There are currently three Bearded Vulture pairs and 43 confirmed individuals in Andalusia. Hopefully, the chick that hatched in the wild this season will survive and also stay in the region.