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Brilliant photograph of an encounter between Bearded Vulture Carmen and Griffon Vulture in Barronies

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Bearded Vulture Carmen, one of the nine Bearded Vultures released within the LIFE GypConnect project in 2019, was recently photographed in Baronnies interacting with a Griffon Vulture. 

The project aims to reintroduce a population of Bearded Vultures into the Massif Central mountain range and the French pre-Alps to connect the reintroduced population in the Alps with the population in the Pyrenees. As part of this conservation project, a total of 27 were released up until now, which is a fantastic outcome!

Bearded Vulture Carmen and Griffon Vulture

A brilliant moment between Bearded Vulture Carmen and a Griffon Vulture was captured on camera in Ramuzat, France, on 11 January thanks to Salva Fauna. It seems that Carmen flew a little too close to the nest site of a Griffon Vulture, which resulted in this fascinating encounter between them. Usually, Bearded Vultures have the upper hand when in the air, in the sense that they are much quicker and can perform faster curves. 

The unplanned release of Carmen 

The captive breeding season turned out to be excellent in 2019, with a new record of chicks produced, and these great results led to the unplanned releases of two female Bearded Vultures within the LIFE GypConnect project, one of which was Carmen. 

As coordinators of the Bearded Vulture captive breeding network (EEP) we closely manage the 175 birds to ensure optimum breeding results. Over the past couple of years, there has been a bias towards females among the birds we look after, which we hoped would be resolved this year with a record number of 30 chicks surviving. However, when the sex determination results came back, the four birds reserved for the breeding network were female, so they had to be released into the wild. Two were destined for Andalucia region of Spain, and we decided to release two as part of the LIFE GYPCONNECT project in Baronnies. 

Releasing Carmen to Baronnies

Carmen and Pamela at the hacking site

Carmen was born on 21 February at Ostrava Zoo in the Czech Republic. The LIFE GypConnect project released Carmen on Saturday 25 May in Baronnies alongside Pamela using the hacking method where they were monitored and fed, without any human contact, until they fledged.

You can follow the movements of GPS tagged Bearded Vultures by visiting our online public maps.

LIFE GypConnect

Led by the League pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO), the LIFE GYPCONNECT project aims to establish a breeding population of Bearded Vultures in the Massif Central and Department of the Drôme. Releasing captive-bred Bearded Vultures into the wild at sites such as the Parc Naturel Régional des Grands Causses,  Parc Naturel Régional des Baronnies Provençales and Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors will create a core population that will connect the two populations of the species in the Alps and Pyrenees. To facilitate movements between the new population and the Alpine and Pyrenean populations the LIFE GYPCONNECT team is creating a network of supplementary feeding stations, and tackling threats such as poisoning, and collision and electrocution with the electricity infrastructure.

gypconnect, beardedvultureeep, beardedvulture, griffonvulture, 2020-01

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