This week two griffon vultures that were successfully rehabilitated were released in Sardinia in the framework of the LIFE project “LIFE Under Griffon Wings – Implementation of best practices to rescue griffon vultures in Sardinia”. The two young females, born in 2016, were named Jana and Tempestosa by the school kids of Bosa, which attended this spectacular event, and were rehabilitated in the Bonassai rescue centre run by the Sardinian Forestry agency.
Before their release, Jana and Tempestosa were tagged with satellite transmitters, to acquire data on their movements. This and further tagging operation should enable the project team to determine the home range of the griffon vultures, their wintering areas (especially those of the juveniles) and their survival rates. The data of the satellite tags should also provide data on any eventual emigration towards the mainland.
The acquired knowledge will be used to assess whether potential breeding sites are visited thus enabling the project stakeholders to enhance the attractiveness of these sites with the creation of additional farm feeding stations, and to plan specific actions aimed at mitigating the main threats (poisoned baits) in these areas. In addition, the information gathered on their foraging movements will be used to design and validate the network of feeding stations.
The overall aims of LIFE UNDER GRIFFON WINGS is to rescue the Sardinian griffon population from a critical demographic situation (around 130 individuals are currently living in Sardinia) by mitigating the main threats limiting its viability. The main actions foresee to:
– create a network of feeding stations, which will guarantee enough food supply to the vulture population;
– create an anti-poison dog unit and developing a communication actions to raise awareness on the threat caused by the illegal use of poisoned baits;
– restocking program: the liberation of 60 griffon vultures from Spain to resolve the critical demographic situation of the population;
– mitigate human disturbance in the reproductive sites;
– reinforce the local wildlife rescue centre (WRC) by equipping it with the facilities needed for the rehabilitation of large vultures.
The Vulture Conservation Foundation supports this important conservation project which was developed by the University of Sassari in partnership with the Municipality of Bosa, the Forestry Agency and the Corpo Forestale di Vigilanza Ambientale. The project is implemented in collaboration with the regional Departments of Environmental Protection and Health, the Regional Natural Park of Porto Conte and the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale of Sardinia, the Junta de Andalucia and the VCF.
The VCF provides technical expertise and advice, while at the same time securing and transporting the griffon vultures that will be released in Sardinia. 17 vultures were already transported last year and will be released soon, while another batch of 25 birds is going to be transported to Sardinia soon.
(Photos kindly provided by the project team of LIFE UNDER GRIFFON WINGS)