Bearded vultures went extinct in the Alpine chain in the beginning of the 20th century. Towards the end of the same century, it was deemed that the threats that had driven it to extinction (direct persecution, poison and lack of food) had been minimized, so an ambitious reintroduction project started in 1986, using birds from the more than 30 Zoos and captive breeding centers coordinated by the Vulture Conservation Foundation under the
Bearded Vulture endangered species programme (EEP).
Since then, the VCF and all its partners in 4 countries (Austria, Switzerland,
Italy and France) have released more than 185 birds across the Alps – and as a consequence, there are now more than 20 breeding pairs, and 30 territories, dispersed across the chain.
Now a new study – co-authored by a VCF advisory board member – shows the importance of protected areas for this species. Overall, about half of all reported observations of bearded vultures in the Alps, and about 65% of all reproduction events, occur in protected areas, which only cover 22% of the mountain chain. You can download the poster here