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Mourning bearded vulture Durzon

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Two weeks ago, Léa Giraud, the coordinator of the LPO team in the Grands Causses, that coordinates the vulture conservation project there, gave us some sad news: Durzon, a young bearded vulture released back to nature there last summer, had been found dead in the middle of a field, on the Causse du Larzac.

Durzon, like all the bearded vultures released in the ongoing reintroduction projects, carried a GPS tag, and this has enabled the local team to find it quickly following the first signs something was wrong – a stationary position and low temperatures from the tag.

Durzon was found lying on its belly without any visible sign of electrocution or any other mark. It was located about 400 meters from a power line, which leaves the hypothesis of a collision, but a first X-ray revealed no fracture.

The bird was sent to specialized veterinarians for analysis of the possible internal presence of toxins and/or metals. The results of these tests, coupled with those of his autopsy, will be important to try to determine the causes of his death.

Durzon was born in the bearded vulture specialized captive breeding center in Guadalentin (Andalusia, Spain), and in his short life had made already a large trip: soon after being released, he left the French Massif central and travelled all the way to northern Germany. There he was getting weaker, so with the help of local partners we decided to recapture it to minimize any potential problems. Durzon was eventually captured close to Hannover, on the 24th of July 2017, and brought back to the Causses, where he was re-released on the 2nd. August. Following its re-release, Durzon had been staying in the Grands Causses, and was behaving naturally.

Durzon was one of the 8 young bearded vultures from the captive-breeding network released in the area of the LIFE GYPCONNECT project in 2017. Last season´s release season was not the most successful, as the 2 birds released in Vercors died (one of them due to electrocution), as did one of the birds released in the Baronies (again by electrocution). The 4 birds released in the Causses had escaped mortality – until now. We are waiting for the results of the post-mortem to take measures, if appropriate.

Photo: LPO Grands Causses

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