Some days ago we were saddened to learn that Agata – one of the two captive-bred female Egyptian vultures released in Puglia (Southern Italy) at the end of August, had drown in the Mediterranean while crossing south from Sicily to Tunisia (130km). Now we are happy to report that Sara made it – and from Sicily to Libya, a much longer crossing!
The two birds were released as part of an experiment to test procedures and get crucial data on the feasibility and relevance of captive-breeding and restocking/reintroduction projects with this species. They were tagged, and their movements closely followed.
Agata followed the traditional migration route, from Calabria to Sicily, and then southwest across the Med, but mid-way veered left and ended up drowning in the sea. The transmitter continued to send us data for the next 4 days, probably because the bird was drifting in the surface of the sea (see here).
Sara however did some more unorthodox movement. From the release site in Puglia it flew to the heel of the boot, then crossed the Jonic sea (140km) onwards to Sicily. Then last Thursday it flew south by mid-morning, and landed east of Tripoli at least 12 hours later, after flying 540km!
What a remarkable trip! Sara probably flew the last 4 hours of the sea crossing at night. The bird was no doubt in very good condition – earlier it has been seen eating well at a site near san Luca in Calabria, where there were many carcasses.
Later that day, Sara continued south, and started to cross the Sahara desert. Where will she head to? Please check our website for regular updates!