The two male young bearded vultures released on the 6th of June in the Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime (see here) got equipped with a GPS transmitter last weekend, by staff from the VCF and the Parc, just before they fledged (see photo).
Roman and Herculis have been adjusting well to their new environment and have been practicing for their first flight, so this was the time to equip them with a GPS transmitter! It is important to do this as late as possible (when all muscles are developed) to adjust the harnesses to the correct size. The GPS transmitters, funded by the VCF, Tierpark Berlin and Swild, will send us data of their whereabouts over the next years. You can find the link other GPS-tracked vultures here>>
Roman was born in the Vallcalent bearded vulture specialized captive breeding center (Spain) and finally adopted by a foster-pair in Ostrava Zoo, while Herculis hatched in Tierpark Berlin, within the captive breeding network coordinated by the VCF. Interestingly, Herculis is much bigger than Roman, even though both are of the same age.
The release event – an operation led by Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime and funded by the Fondation Prince Albert II Monaco – was a great success (see links below for some press coverage), and although everything was made to minimize the stress on the birds, that had endured 35C heat during their travel to the release site, 250 people, including many journalists, could see the birds in the magnificent mountain surroundings, in a great event celebrating the return of the species to the Alps.
Roman came out of the specially-prepared cavity only 1 hour after the release, to exercise its wings, and even on the first day the staff and volunteers who monitor the birds 24/7 saw some natural interactions and behavior, with both birds eating normally. Then, one day after the release, the birds received the visit of an old acquaintance – Paolo Peila, an adult (13 years old) bearded vulture that is resident in the same valley, so far unpaired. Like in other releases in past years, Paolo Peila has been showing a great interest in the young, often coming to perch nearby and even feeding directly the chicks (see photos).
You can see a video of the release event below, as well as some links with news regarding the release