Three captive-bred Egyptian vultures wеrе released in Bulgaria

10.08.2016

Today - on August 10, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) put three young Egyptian vultures in artificial nest within the Nature Park "Rusenski Lom" courtesy of the Department of the Park and Green Balkans. Two of the vultures were provided by the Vienna zoo and the other one - by a zoo in Paris.

This experimental introduction by adaptation of young Egyptian vultures bred in captivity among the local wild population is made for the first time not only in Bulgaria, but throughout Eastern Europe. In the long-run, such actions will underline a program for active reinforcement of the wild population and securing its future in the country and the region.

Every one of the young Egyptian vultures was tagged with satellite transmitter and marked with a ring under the LIFE+ project BSPB "The Return of the Neophron". Two of the vultures are female - Elodie and Regina, named after their zookeepers. The third bird is a male and was named Lom - the name of the park. The young birds will spend two weeks in the artificial nest, under constant observation and care, to get used to the area, before they are released into the wild. The artificial nest has been located on a specially selected area - near a feeding site where birds can find food and near a local couple of Egyptian vultures. The wild birds could guide the young ones in finding safe places for food and rest, and in fall – could show them a safe migration route to their wintering sites. This method of introduction or reintroduction of captivity-bred individuals is widely used in many species. However, the practical experience with Egyptian vultures is relatively small and this experimental introduction in Bulgaria will significantly contribute to the accumulation of more knowledge in this area.

The vultures are provided by the Praha Zoo within the framework of the European Endangered Species Programmes (EEP) of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), by courtesy of the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF).

The Egyptian vulture is the only species of the vultures that migrates on long distances. Every year they travel over 8,000 km from the Balkans to Africa and back. After their first migration the young birds remain in Africa for four years, before they return back to their breeding territories. Thanks to the satellite transmitters we will be able to track the three Egyptian vultures. This information will help us to evaluate whether the method is successful or not, as well as we will be able to see if the young birds will return back to Rusenski Lom.

The activity is carried out within the BSPB LIFE+ project "The Return of the Neophron" by the key collaboration with Anton Vaidl from Praha Zoo - the coordinator of the Egyptian vulture EEP, and with the assistance of VCF, Rusenski Lom Nature Park and Green Balkans.

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The breeding performance of the Egyptian Vulture population in Bulgaria is among the highest in Europe

The breeding performance of the Egyptian Vulture population in Bulgaria is among the highest in Europe