Rescue and rehabilitation of Cinereous Vulture Barnabie

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The Vultures Back To LIFE project team released Cinereous Vulture Barnabie on 6 August this year near Kotel as part of the project efforts to bring the species back to the Balkans. But it seemed that the vulture needed some help recently, and the project team rushed to its rescue on Tuesday 26 November near the village of Svirkovo, Simeonovgrad.


The Cinereous Vultures Barnabie, Ultron and Ostrava-2 were released in Bulgaria within the framework of the Vultures Back To LIFE project and are closely monitored after their release. During the last few days, the Green Balkans team received somewhat worrying data through the birds’ satellite transmitters – the young vultures spent a long time on the same place, probably in distress. 

One of them, Barnabie, spent the whole night in a vineyard and after a field check, they captured the bird and transported it to the Green Balkans Rescue Centre in Stara Zagora, where the vets discovered the bird had three fractures on its right wing. The good news is that the bird’s overall condition is good, its weight is not critical, so we hope that it will recover fast. The team will continue to monitor the data from the other two birds to swiftly respond in case they need help.


After a short stay at the intensive care unit, the bird was sent for review at the veterinary clinic at the Trakia University, Stara Zagora by a team of specialists.

On Friday 29 November, experts the veterinary clinic of Trakia University examined the vulture and carefully placed a splint bandage on its wing. The vulture will now spend the next three weeks in the ICU of the wildlife rescue centre. For now, he is resting and treated with medicines, but he is not yet feeding on his own. We hope this significant vulture will recover soon!


The wing bandage was removed two weeks ago, and he moved to a larger cage. He is already eating on his own and recovering well.

Unfortunately, he will never be able to fly again because the carpal joint of his right-wing has ankylosis after the rehabilitation. He will be given a chance to mate with a female partner from his species when he becomes sexually mature.

Vultures Back To LIFE

Led by the wildlife conservation charity Green Balkans, with activities also implemented by the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna, and bringing together partners from Bulgaria, Spain, Germany, and us here at the VCF, Vultures Back to LIFE aims to reintroduce the cinereous or Eurasian black vulture to Bulgaria. The team will transfer and release around 60 birds, some from captive-breeding, but mostly coming from wildlife rehabilitation centres in Extremadura (Spain) into the wild in Bulgaria as well as creating supplementary feeding stations and improving populations of wild herbivores, improving the nesting conditions and creating artificial nest sites and tackling some of the major threats to vultures in the country such as insulating electricity pylons and illegal use of poison in the nature.

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