The first three young bearded vultures to be released in Andalucia this year will be put in the hacking cave today, as part of the reintroduction project there. Over the next few weeks, another 3 or 4 young will be released in the mountains of Southern Spain.
The presentation of the birds took place at the municipally from Pozo Alcón (Jaén province) with the presence of the Andalusia Ministry for Environment, José Gregorio Fiscal, as well the village mayor and other political representatives from the area and the Natural Park. After the event the three nestlings were transferred to the hacking site located near the Andalusia breeding centre Guadalentín. As they are not yet at fledgling age the young will stay in the platform for a few weeks, starting to learn from the natural environment. They will be fed on a regular basis, but will then fledge naturally.
The older nestling is a male coming from the Captive Breeding Center Guadalentín (managed by the Junta de Andalucía). Her parents reproduced last year for the first time. Both were experienced breeding birds. This breeding season the female laid again a double clutch and from both eggs a chick hatched. The first chick has been released a few days ago in Corsica and the younger sibling has been adopted by foster parents for the release. The second chick is a female coming from Liberec zoo (Czech Republic). It hatched from the second egg of a double clutch (unfortunately the 1st aborted). The chick was adopted and successful reared by his own parents. The chick was then sent to the Richard Faust centre (Austria) by car where it joined the third nestling, raised there, and both birds were sent to Andalusia by plane. This third nestling is a male, the younger chick from a pair which laid a double clutch – their older nestling was also released a few days ago in Corsica.
In a few weeks’ time they will be flying in the same skies as Tono & Blimunda, the adult pair that bred successfully last year in Andalucía, the first time the species nested in southern Spain for more than 30 years – a fantastic milestone in a project that only started 10 years ago. This year Tono & Blimunda prepared the nest, but unfortunately they did not lay any eggs.
The Andalusia Bearded Vulture Reintroduction Project is funded by the Andalusia Government. The project is managed by the Fundación Gypaetus and the VCF collaborates as partner. This project is included in the European conservation strategy for the species.