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December newsletter from Bearded Vulture news in the north Pyrenees

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The December 2018 newsletter for Bearded Vulturesin the northern Pyrenees has been published by colleagues. Highlights of the newsletter include:

Injury caused by PVC ring

Captured at a feeding station at six years old in Aragon in 2005 and later rescued in 2015 after spending time rehabilitating the the Vallcalent Recovery Centre, Bearded Vulture Elizabeth was reported injured in November 2018. Her PVC ring was wedged between two digits and one of her toes had developed necrosis as a result, she was transferred to the Veterinary School of Toulouse and operated on. She has since been transfered to Hegalaldia Wildlife Rescue Centre and is currently under intense observation. 

Young Bearded Vultures dies as a result of car collision

At the beginning of November a young Bearded Vulture collided with a car in Bagnères de Luchon (Haute-Garonne) and died instantly. Samples were taken from the bird to establish if poisoning may have caused a behavioural change, as is often the case with sub-lethal doses ingested by vultures. However, the results indicated that there were insufficient levels to suggest this contributed to the bird’s death. 

ECOGYP, a cross border project in the Pyrenees to improve the conservation status of Bearded and Egyptian Vultures and Red Kite, held a communications day in November and highlights included:

Feeding in Aragon: more than 11 million tons of animal carcasses were deposited in Aragon between 2007 and 2018 for raptors. 

Antoni Margalida (CSIS Institute for Game and Wildlife Research) presented the first results of a demographic study of the Pyrenean population of Bearded Vultures outlining that 

in particular presented the first results of a demographic study of the Pyrenean population highlighting the that there are around 800 and 1000 individuals with a high survival rate regardless of the age group. 

Ruben Moreno-Opo (Ministry of Ecology / Madrid) presented research on the advantages of smaller scattered supplementary feeding stations for Bearded Vultures rather than fewer larger sites that limit the dispersal of individuals and promote the effects of density-dependence.

New pair of Bearded Vultures caught on camera

A camera trap set up at a feeding site north of the Corbières in the Cevennes foothills revealed a pair engaging in breeding behaviour close to the feeding site and caught a bird carrying wool for the nest. 

Minimising disturbance to breeding Bearded Vultures

LPO and the Ecological Committee Ariégeois successfully obtained a court order in October to suspend the activity of low flying helicopter geophysical mining research in the Natura 2000 site of Massif du Mont Valier, a breeding site for Bearded Vultures. The activity was due to take place at a critical period in the breeding season. 

Circulaire no. 79 GYPAÈTE BARBU PYRÉNÉES VERSANT NORD Circulaire no. 79 (December 2018) – French circulaire no.79 Dec 18.pdf Adobe Acrobat Document 1.0 MB Download

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