Lea – a young captive-bred male bearded vulture which was released in the National Park Hohe Tauern (Austria) in 2015, and recovered weakened in the Italian Stelvio National Park last spring, is flying again over the Alps.
Lea spent his first year after release almost exclusively in Hohe Tauern (see map below). In June 2016, he flew to the French Alps, where he spent some time in the National Parks Vanoise and Écrins. He then spent the winter in Southern Switzerland before flying on to Stelvio in spring 2017, where he was recovered weakened on the 23 March 2017 (see News here>>)
Lea was kept for several months in the bearded vulture specialized captive breeding center in Harinsee (Austria), managed by Eulen- and Greifvogelstation, where he was provided with the best housing conditions, including to train the flight muscles.
On the 15th September, it finally was possible to release Lea again, in an event that was also used to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the National Park Hohe Tauern.
Although the weather conditions were not really favorable, Lea did some good short flights, and soon moved back to the Dorfertal, where he was originally released in 2015. The GPS tag that Lea carries is showing us his detailed movements. You can follow Lea’s movements here>>
Lea was released as part of the alpine bearded vulture reintroduction project, one of the greatest wildlife comeback stories of our times – bearded vultures continue to increase in the Alps, and this year there are at least 45 occupied territories, including 3 pairs in Austria.
The VCF coordinates the reintroduction project in the Alps, together with many partners in 4 countries including Hohe Tauern and Stelvio national parks.