A Black Vulture from the reintroduction project in the Pyrenees dies in Castelló because of an electrocution with power lines
Pau, a Black Vulture born in captivity in 2012 at GREFA (Madrid) and released the same year in the Catalan Pre-Pyrenees, was found dead in Castelló in the month of December, just under a power line.
Pau was born at the captive breeding centre of GREFA (Majadahonda, Madrid), in the spring of 2012. He was released into the wild, in the Catalan Pre-Pryrenees, in order to bring him into the wild population that forms the core of the reintroduction project of the Black Vulture in the Pyrenees (a project promoted by the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Food and Environment of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia and Catalunya – La Pedrera Foundation, that also involves Trenca Association). The hacking technique was used to release this vulture, leaving the bird on an artificial nest and providing him food without being seen untill the moment he started to fly. After a while in the Pre-Pyrenees, he started his juvenile dispersion, which is characteristic of the species, that leads young black vultures to know new places, to finally settle there or come back to their place of birth.
It was during that period of juvenile dispersion that Pau died. All the black vultures from the project wear a terrestrial transmitter (radio tracking is carried out at the Pre-Pyrenees) or a GPS-satellite transmitter (radio-monitoring is done then at GREFA’s centre, in Majadahonda), allowing us to know their location. On 2 December 2012, the satellite transmitter of this Black Vulture ceased to send out signals. After several trips to try to find him (GREFA’s members went to Castelló, the place where the last signal came from), the staff from the wildlife rehabilitation centre of Forn del Vidre (Castelló), that were also aware, found the dead body of Pau in a flat agricultural area, in the locality of Torreblanca.
Although it seemed clear that it was a case of collision and/or electrocution (these electrical pylons with medium-low voltage transformers are very dangerous), on 4 January 2013, the veterinary surgeon from GREFA and the veterinary surgeon from the wildlife centre of El Saler (Valencia) conducted the necropsy together, confirming the electrocution. The responsible authorities for the environment in the Valencian Country have been notified of the incident and the characteristics of this power line. Now, more formally, the necropsy report will be included to rigorously certify the cause of death and so thats authorities can have more information to manage the modification of this power line.