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Saving Griffon Vultures in Bulgaria: Our partners rescue a wild bird and welcome the first egg of their captive breeding pair over the holidays

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The work of our partners in Bulgaria, the Green Balkans, didn’t stop during the holidays. Among the many wild animals they tend for, including other vulture species like the Bearded Vulture, they were busy looking after Griffon Vultures. Just before the new year, their Griffon Vulture pair in captivity laid the first clutch of the season, and a few days following the new year, the team had to rescue a wild Griffon Vulture stranded in a highway. 

Griffon Vultures laid their first egg near Christmas

The team at the Green Balkans’ Wildlife Rehabilitation and Breeding Centre were constantly monitoring the Griffon Vulture pair during the holidays with their surveillance camera system. On Christmas Eve, the team rejoiced at the sight of the first Griffon Vulture egg of this breeding season! The Griffon Vulture pair proved to be good parents after hatching and raising their first youngling last year.  

The breeding season of this pair started quite early. The birds have been mating for more than a month and were mainly busy building the nest. Now that they laid their clutch, they will be busy with their incubating tasks! Let’s hope that they welcome a chick that will grow up to be healthy and strong just like last year and eventually release it into the wild to boost the species’ local population!

Griffon Vulture rescued on Trakia highway

At the beginning of the new year, the Green Balkans’ team were receiving dozens of messages by concerned citizens alerting them that a Griffon Vulture was spotted on the highway near the town of Chirpan. The bird was observed flying low above the cars and walking or sitting on the lay-by. After a few attempts, the team finally captured and transported the vulture to the clinic of the Rescue Center. The vulture had no physical injuries, but was weak and exhausted, probably due to malnutrition. Now, the team is looking after the bird, providing the necessary food until its strong and ready to return to the wild again.

Update 12/02/2020

After spending a nearly two-month stay at the Center’s outpatient clinic regaining its strength, the Griffon Vulture was marked and was ready for release! The Green Balkans’ team released the young vulture in the aviary located in the Blue Stones Natural Park, which was built within the framework of the Vultures Back To LIFE Project. There, the bird will spend a little more time adapting to its surroundings before being released back into the wild.

These recent conservation actions were carried out within the Vultures Back to LIFE Project.

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 and Germany, 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 centers 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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