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Achieving a world-record: Guadalentín centre in Andalusia hatched the highest-ever number of Bearded Vulture chicks produced in a single breeding season

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The Bearded Vulture Captive Breeding Centre of Guadalentín achieved a worldwide record as it produced 10 Bearded Vulture chicks during the 2020/21 breeding season. Up until today, no other facility in the world has managed to produce such a high number of chicks in a single breeding season. This important milestone became a reality thanks to the long-term commitment and strategy of the Junta de Andalucía and the support of the Bearded Vulture Captive Breeding Network.

“Guinness”, the chick that broke the record, hatched naturally over this past Wednesday, weighing 150 grams. The parents of this young Bearded Vulture are Cabús, the oldest male in the Centre who is over 30 years old, and Perea, a twelve-year-old female who has produced her first-ever chick this season. Excitedly, Cabús and Perea are a new pair that have been together since October 2020.

Breeding season 2020/21 results in Guadalentín

Guadalentín hosted 7 breeding pairs during this breeding season, one more than the previous season, with Cabús and Perea’s addition, the new pair. In total, the pairs laid 12 eggs, of which were 10 fertile and 2 infertile. Keno laid the first one on 7 December 2020 and Perea the last one on 29 January 2021.

Meet the chicks of this breeding season: 

Attenborough © VCF

BG1094, chick of Joseph and Keno, hatched on 29 January 2021 through natural hatching, weighing 145,1g. It was named “Attenborough” after David Attenborough, the great broadcaster and naturalist.

Herrera © VCF

BG1100, chick of Lázaro and Nava, hatched on 24 February 2021 with assisted hatching, weighing 148,3g. It was named “Herrera” after Carlos Herrera, the biologist who has developed most of his research work in the P.N. of Cazorla, Segura y las Villas.

Goodall © VCF

BG1102, chick of Andalucía and Salvia, hatched on 26 February 2021 through natural hatching, weighing 142,8g. It was named “Goodall” by Jane Goodall, a pioneer ecologist in the study of wild chimpanzees in Tanzania.

Félix © VCF

BG1103, chick of Borosa and Toba, hatched on 04 March 2021 through natural hatching, weighing 128,9g. It was named “Félix” by Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, a great Spanish nature researcher.

Cousteau © VCF

BG1104, the second chick of Andalucía and Salvia, hatched on 04 March 2021 with assisted hatching, weighing 139,8g. It was named “Cousteau” after Jacques-Yves Cousteau, a French underwater photographer and cinematographer who popularised underwater life documentaries.

Leakey © VCF

BG1107, chick of Tranco and Sabina, hatched on 6 March 2021 through natural hatching, weighing 151,1g. It was named “Leakey” after Mary Douglas Leakey, a renowned British anthropologist who spent most of her career in the Olduvai Gorge.

Diario Jaén © VCF

BG1112, the second chick of Borosa and Toba, hatched on 11 March 2021 with assisted hatching, weighing 121g. It was named “Diario Jaén”, after the newspaper of the Centre’s Andalusian province.

Prescott © VCF

BG1113, chick of Elías and Viola, hatched on 14 March 2021 with natural hatching, weighing 159,1g. It was named “Prescott” by Isabel Molina Prescott, veterinarian and coordinator of the Andalusian Recovery Centres’ network and great support for the Centre in veterinary matters. 

Fossey © VCF

BG1116, the second chick of Elías and Viola, hatched on 21 March 2021 through natural hatching, weighing 152g. It was named “Fossey” by Dian Fossey, an American zoologist renowned for her scientific and conservationist work with the gorillas of the Virunga Mountains.

Guinness © VCF

BG1117, chick of Cabús and Perea, hatched at 0:45 on 24 March 2021 through natural hatching, weighing 149.9g. It was named “Guinness” for obtaining the record number of hatchings in the same season for this Centre and of any other facility in the world. This chick is also very important since its an offspring of Cabús, an exemplary male who greatly contributed to this Centre’s breeding activity over the years. 

Bearded Vulture Captive Breeding Centre of Guadalentín 

Guadalentín is located in the province of Jaén, specifically in the Sierras de Cazorla Segura y Las Villas Natural Park, in a privileged area at almost 1,300 meters of altitude. The first Bearded Vulture chick hatched in Guadalentín almost 20 years ago, specifically in February 2002. Today, 25 years after the Centre’s establishment, a total of 102 chicks hatched and survived within this facility. Currently, Guadalentín produces the most chicks every year and specialises in adopting and raising chicks from other centres and zoos, making it the most significant Centre within the Bearded Vulture Captive Breeding Network, coordinated by us here at the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) on behalf of EAZA‘s EEP (Bearded Vulture EEP). As of 2020, the VCF also assumed the management of Guadalentín on a two-year contract with the Junta de Andalucía, thus absorbing a valuable expert team on captive-breeding of this species.

Bearded Vultures naturally rear all the chicks produced within this Centre and the Bearded Vulture EEP to ensure they behave just like their wild conspecifics when they reach sexual maturity. These young vultures have very special purpose — they are either released into the wild to reintroduce Bearded Vulture populations or become part of the captive stock to eventually grow into healthy adults and produce chicks for conservation purposes. 

To follow the news of the breeding season, follow #BeardedVultureBreedingSeason on Facebook and Twitter.

The staff of the Centre nicknamed the chicks, but they will receive their official names once released. 

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