The reintroduction project is based in the Catalan Pyrenees (NE Spain). The two release sites are the National Game Reserve of Boumort managed by the Catalan Government, and the Alinyà mountain belonging to the Obra Social – Caixa Catalunya. We count with the valuable participation of GREFA organizationand the help of TRENCA association, the essential collaboration of Junta de Extremadura (C.R. de los Hornos) and the sponsor REE (Red Eléctrica de España).
Its principal targets are to reintroduce the Black Vulture as a breeding species in the Pyrenees (which hadn’t bred there since the second half of the XIX century) and to establish a population which could reinforce the link between the Iberian and the French populations, which would in turn increase genetic variability. Once achieved these objectives, Catalan Pyrenees will be the only place in Europe having all continents breeding vultures species (Bearded, Egyptian, Black and Griffon Vulture).
Two viability analysis were produced on 2005, and by the Catalan Government. Both sites have vultures feeding points (more than 20 years in Boumort) which have contributed, together with previous conservation efforts, to have healthy vultures populations (Bearded, Egyptian and Griffon Vultures).
The techniques used for this reintroduction project are habituation enclosures for wild immatures and subadult individuals from fauna centers of Extremadura and Madrid (n=25) and hacking of vultures chicks bred in captivity (n=2). All the individuals were banded with rings, wing-colour codes, radio and GPS telemetry (solar Argos/GPS PTT-100 s).
At the same time other activities have been done: new feeding points, reinforcement of rabbit population (essential in Black Vulture’s diet), building of artificial nests and decoys and environmental education.
Update, June 2010
Out of the 27 individuals released during 2007, 2008 and 2009, the results so far are:
14 (52%) individuals use regularly the area
3 (11%) are on juvenil dispersal
7 (26%) have been found dead
3 (11%) are missing.
Also, three pairs have been formed with sexually mature individuals, one of them has protagonized the first succesful breeding attempt with one chick born on April 25th (see pictures and videos in this web site).
After two years since the start of the project we conclude that the first target – to reinforce the link between Iberian and French populations – is being achieved, as vultures from the different populations have been observed on the move: 3 from France (Cévennes and Baronnies) and 3 Iberian birds (one ringed as a chick in a Madrid colony and two others without rings). On the other hand, at least 7 vultures of the project have reached other French projects and at least 5 others have visited some of the Iberian traditional colonies. We can conclude that the link between Iberian and French population never have been so alive and reinforced than now, thanks to this project.