Bearded Vultures Reconquer the North of Spain

After many years of intense preparation, two juvenile bearded vultures were released to the wild in the national park Picos de Europa in the north of Spain in the mid of June for the first time. The aim is to reintroduce these birds in this area on a permanent basis, where they had become extinct.

Bearded vultures originally populated vast parts of Europe but in the last century, many of them were wiped out in their original habitats. In Spain, bearded vultures only survived in the Pyrenees. This small population is not enough to maintain the species on the Iberian Peninsula in the long term. For many years, the Spanish natural heritage fund (FCQ) has therefore helped to protect and to build up a lasting population of bearded vultures in the mountains of Cantabria. FCQ staff saved eggs of breeding pairs living in the Pyrenees’ population, which have not succeeded for years to hatch their eggs. The FCQ members raised the chicks in the vulture-breeding station in Alfranca. On June 15th, they took the birds - already fully grown at the age of three months - to the national park Picos de Europa, situated in the east of the Cantabrian mountains. The juveniles stayed in a re-introduction aviary for one more month before the FCQ team finally released them into freedom.

Like other vultures, the bearded vulture is a scavenger. Its specialty is bones from dead animals; grown-up vultures almost exclusively feed from bones of carcasses.
Several years ago, EuroNatur and the Spanish natural heritage fund FAPAS have joined forces to improve the conditions for scavengers in the mountains of Cantabria.

Read more about the reintroduction project in the national park Picos de Europa

Link to EuroNatur partner FAPAS


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