Extinct 100 years ago across the alpine chain, the bearded vultures are now back in the alpine skies, due to the reintroduction project started in 1986 by the VCF and a number of national partners. The project is based on the release of young birds produced in the bearded vulture captive breeding network, itself also coordinated by the VCF. From 1986 to 2014 188 birds have been released in 4 different countries in the Alps, and the first fledgling in the wild left its nest in 1997 (11 years after first releases), in Haute-Savoie (French Alps) – the wild population has been increasing ever since, and last year it numbered 31 pairs, from which 19 young fledged, a new record.
Now the breeding season is in full swing, and bearded vulture chicks are growing fast in nests across the Alps. So far we have the confirmation of 15 hatched chicks from 32 to 33 established pairs.
The new pairs established themselves in France and Switzerland (now having 10 and 12 pairs respectively), while the total for Italy seems to be lower than last year.
Exciting news from one of the most successful nature conservation projects in Europe – watch this space for more updates…