To celebrate the first successful breeding in the wild of bearded vultures in Andalusia for more than 30 years, the Junta de Andalucia has launched a public campaign to help name the chick.
Members of the public can propose a name until the 26th July at http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/medioambiente/bautizoquebrantahuesosThen from the 28th July a shortlist of names will be published for a public vote.
The staff from the Junta has already identified some front runners, names like “Libre”, in a reference to the anthem of Andalusia, “Orce”, referring to the remains of the Orce man, “Argar” as the first culture recognized in the region, or “Hispania”, among others.
The chick – a female – is the offspring of Tono, a male released in the first year of the reintroduction project in 2006, and Blimunda a female released in 2010. Recently the young was ringed and tagged with a GPS tag, that will enable researchers to follow its movements (see here).
The hatching of this bird – only nine years after the first bearded vultures were released back into Andalucía, is a huge success in an extraordinary project, and a just reward to the many people that worked so hard to bring back this species to southern Spain, and particularly to the Junta de Andalucía, that since day 1 has invested politically and financially in this project.
The bearded vulture was widespread in the mountains of southern Spain until the 40s, but intense human persecution and widespread poisoning cause it to disappear from southern Iberia. The last confirmed breeding took place in Cazorla in 1983, and in 1986 the last adult also disappeared. Releases in Andalusia started in 2006, after the Junta, and Fundacion Gypaetus, established locally to manage the project, started an ambitious conservation programme, mainly focussed on minimizing the endemic tradition of poisoning the sierras to control predators.
So far a total of 38 birds have been released there, including 5 this year. At least 22 of these are still alive.