The Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio of the Junta de Andalucía (the regional government) has recently published the results of the census of the breeding population of black vultures in that Spanish autonomous region: 360 breeding pairs, 31 more than in 2014. 119 of these pairs are in the province of Huelva, 97 in Sevilla, 79 in Jaén and 65 in Córdoba. 315 of these 360 pairs laid eggs (284 in 2014).
This year was also an excellent breeding season, with a record number of fledglings: 193, higher than the previous record year (2012, 187 fledglings).
These results confirm that the species continues to increase in Andalucía (and generally in the rest of Spain), no doubt a result of all the conservation effort put in place in region since 2002, when a targeted conservation programme started. At a time there were 210 breeding pairs, so the population has almost doubled in the last 13 years.
In spite of the effective anti-poisoning programme put in place, this continues to be the main threat for the species in the region – in 2014 there were still 52 poisoned black vultures, but a lot less than in the past (e.g. 143 cases in 2007). In general, mortality of black vultures by poisoning has decreased by about 80%, and this explains the significant increase in the population.
The black vulture conservation programme also includes actions to decrease disturbance in colonies, the reconstruction of nests, and the recover of orphaned eggs or chicks, as well as work to isolate electric pylons. The programme also includes an active environmental education component, that has reached about 28,000 school children (or about 2000 children/year) in at least 30 localities
The Spanish population – the largest in the world, has now increased to about 3,000 pairs.
The VCF and the Junta de Andalucía collaborate in several vulture conservation initiatives.