19 more Griffon Vultures and a Black Vultures have arrived from Spain

19 more Griffon Vultures and a Black Vultures have arrived from Spain

The birds are a part of the Vultures Return in Bulgaria LIFE08 NAT/BG/278 Project and have been provided by the Vulture Conservation Foundation. They were collected from two Rescue Centres in Spain - Sevilleja de la Jara in Castilla la Mancha, which provided a total of 12 Griffon Vultures and Biscaia in the Country of Basque, which granted us 7 Griffon Vultures and a Black Vulture.

The birds traveled over 3000 km in special transport boxes. The team started the long journey on November 10th 2011, and managed to collect all birds and start back on November 14th. In order to avoid exporting the vultures out of the European Union, the team crossed Europe from Spain, through France, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary and Romania to Bulgaria. The journey turned out to be a greater challenge than expected and the first five newcomers arrived to the adaptation aviary of Vrachanski Balkan as early as the morning of November 18th 2011. Four vultures were accommodated in Central Balkan, while five went to Sinite kamani and other five – to Kotel.

Here the birds will have time to recover from the long journey, acclimatize and get used to the conditions of the Balkan Mountains. Each of the vultures was marked with an individual PVC and metal ring and matching wing-tags, to enable their further tracking into the wild. Depending on their age, but not earlier than next spring, after wintering over here, the vultures will be released, hoping that they have accepted the Balkans as their homeland.

Before the newcomers, a total of 19 Griffon Vultures from Spain and zoos from Germany, Netherlands and the Czech Republic are awaiting freedom in the four adaptation aviaries of the Balkan Mountains. At the same time, a total of 63 vultures have been released so far within the reintroduction programme, and about a half of them have stayed in the areas we have selected for their release.

The last passenger - the Black Vulture, was accommodated in the Wildlife Rescue Centre of Green Balkans – Stara Zagora, to become a part of the breeding programme for rare and threatened species. The bird is young, found wandering on a Spanish airport. Well, there’s a chance for it to travel! It is currently isolated alone, but it will soon be introduced to the young Greek female which was the only bird of this species to be kept in the Centre.

We are hoping that with the new-comers we will increase the chance for the return of these magnificent species in the Balkan Mountains.

For more information, please contact:
Elena Kmetova – project coordinator –; +359 885 219 557