The black vulture reintroduction project in Catalunya – led by the Departament d’Agricultura, Ramaderia, Pesca, Alimentació i Medi Natural de la Generalitat de Catalunya and by the Fundació Catalunya – La Pedrera, with technical support from GREFA and Trenca NGOs, had another good year in 2013, with three young fledging from natural nests. The ultimate aim of this project is to restore this magnificent species in the pre-Pyrenees, from where it had disappeared 100 years ago.
In 2013 7 pairs were observed in the release sites – the Reserva Nacional de Caça de Boumort and the Espai Natural d’Alinyà, distant about 30k from each other. Five pairs started to breed, from which 3 young fledged. The first breeding occurred only in 2010, and since then a total of 6 black vultures fledged in the new colony.
So far almost 50 individuals were released in the area, almost all coming from rehabilitation centers in western and southern Spain. The Spanish population, the biggest in the world, has been slowly increasing, and every year several exhausted or weak individuals are found by members of the public and sent for rehabilitation.
During the last counts in Boumort and Alinyà (December 2013), a total of 30 black vultures were seen, 26 autochthonous (released in the area or already born there – this includes the first bird born in the wild, in 2010, that is still around), and 4 birds from elsewhere – two from the French reintroduction projects, and two from elsewhere in Spain.
The Catalunya project lies exactly in the middle between the stronghold of the species in western Iberia, and the French reintroduction projects, and many dozen individuals from both origins have been seen in the area – thus this project is also promoting the genetic flow and mixing of black vultures in Western Europe.
You can find more information about this project here