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Two Griffon Vultures left Dresden zoo for a new island life in Sardinia

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Griffon Vulture in Dresden Zoo © Ilya Trofimenko

Two young Griffon Vultures are on their way to Sardinia from Germany, for the chance to live in the wild and boost the local population of the species on the island! Dresden Zoo generously donated the two vultures to the LIFE Under Griffon Wings Project following close cooperation and coordination with us here at the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF).

Transfer and release of Griffon Vultures to Sardinia

One of the Griffon Vultures hatched in 2019 while the other in 2020. The two male vultures left Dresden Zoo about two weeks ago to travel thousands of km via animal-safe transportation couriers, with costs covered by the VCF, to reach their new home — Sardinia!

The birds will initially spend about 20 days in a quarantine station alongside three other Griffon Vulture individuals. Following this period, the LIFE Under Griffon Wings team will transfer them to the actual release aviary at Monte Minerva, where they will get used to the environment and the other vultures over the next few months. The project team will also equip the birds with a GPS tag to track their movements and behaviour in the wild, allowing conservationists to implement more concrete conservation measures. The team will then release them in the springtime, probably in March.

We want to thank Dresden Zoo for donating the two Griffon Vulture to this important conservation project as well for financially supporting other work of the VCF. Let’s hope that all the five Griffon Vultures will have a bright and long future ahead in the Sardinian wild!

LIFE Under Griffon Wings

Led by Sassari University, the LIFE Under Griffon Wings project aims to improve the conservation status of Griffon Vultures in Sardinia. Their conservation efforts include improving food availability and establishing a network of farm feeding stations that are managed by the livestock breeders themselves. Furthermore, forming an anti-poison dog unit and developing communication actions to raise awareness on the threat caused by the illegal use of poisoned baits as well as carrying out an extensive restocking programme to enhance the small population by translocating around 60 birds from wildlife rehabilitation centres in Spain to Sardinia, which are managed by the Forestry Agency once they arrive.

The Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) 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, the Instituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale of Sardinia.

The VCF secures and transports the Griffon Vultures from Spain, and up until now, provided a total of 67 birds, fulfilling the requirements of the project. 

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