Actions to reintroduce the Bearded Vulture in Andalusia

Actions to reintroduce the Bearded Vulture in Andalusia

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The bearded vulture was widely distributed throughout the southern peninsula until the mid-19th century. Thus, at present 35 of the 54 lammergeier eggs that are in European museums come from Andalusia.

The bearded vulture was widely distributed throughout the southern peninsula until the mid-19th century. Thus, at present 35 of the 54 lammergeier eggs that are in European museums come from Andalusia.

This pressure was accentuated when, in the middle of the 20th century, strong poisoning campaigns began to fight against the so-called vermin: wolf, lynx, eagles or vultures, they were the objective of the “Vermin Extinction Boards”.

In the 50s there was only one population of bearded vultures in Andalusia, that of the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas, whose last representative disappeared, finally, in 1986. Since then, many have been interested in the recovery of this species ; from individuals to the Administration, through environmental groups, scientists, etc., all have worked together.

In 1996 the Ministry of the Environment signed an agreement with the Foundation for the conservation of the Bearded Vulture (FCBV) to create the Guadalentín Breeding Center and become part of the Endangered Species Program (EEP).
In 2003, the feasibility studies were completed, in which it is concluded that there are at least some sites in the Andalusian geography that meet the necessary conditions to host a population of bearded vultures.

Finally in 2004 the LIFE project was approved. The duration of the project is 5 years, and the allocated budget is 1,649,250 euros, of which 75% is provided by the European Commission, while the remaining 25% is paid for by the Gypaetus Foundation and its partners: the Ministry of the Environment of the Junta de Andalucía, the Andalusian Hunting Federation and the Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers. Promoting captive breeding, carrying out feasibility studies in some mountains of Castilla la Mancha and Murcia, locating the ideal places for hacking and controlling the threats that may endanger reintroduction, are some of the main actions of the LIFE project. No less important are the actions aimed at dissemination that seek to sensitize public opinion and stimulate citizen participation in the project.
The fundamental objectives of the project are 2:
1. Carry out the necessary preparatory actions to guarantee the success of the reintroduction.
2. Begin with the reintroduction in the ZEPA of Cazorla, Segura y las Villas, and the ZEPA of Sierra Nevada.
The ultimate goal is to ensure the viability of the European bearded vulture population, through captive breeding and subsequent reintroduction, to achieve a population capable of surviving and reproducing in the wild, regardless of human intervention.

What are the threats to the bearded vulture?

Destruction or alteration of habitats
The alteration of the natural conditions of habitats and human presence can limit the presence of the bearded vulture in places where it was common in other times. The construction of communication routes, forestry or hydraulic actions and, in general, any activity that implies an increase in human presence in the area, cause the abandonment of raptors, the bearded vulture being a species particularly sensitive to human presence.

Reduction of food availability
Carrion birds are highly dependent on livestock activities, which is why they are very vulnerable to lack of food.


The main cause of the disappearance of the bearded vulture in Andalusia was both direct and indirect persecution to which it was subjected by man. Over the years, and thanks to greater social awareness and nature protection laws, we can now consider deliberate killing to be anecdotal.

Use of poisoned baits
The fight against large and medium predators has often been based on the placement of baits treated with toxic substances. Being the bearded vulture with exclusively scavenger habits, it is an easy victim of poisoned baits.

The Gypaetus Foundation has developed its own Action Plan against the illegal use of Poisoned Baits, in collaboration with the Andalusian Strategy against the illegal use of Poisoned Baits.

The LIFE areas of action are included in the Network of Protected Natural Areas of Andalusia (RENPA) where the risk of poisoning is minimal.

Power lines
Power lines are a serious risk for many birds, especially medium and large raptors and soaring birds. The bearded vulture is a victim of collisions with cables, because it frequently practices low altitude flight and in poor visibility conditions.
Through the inventory of lines likely to produce electrocutions or shocks, the necessary corrections will be made, reaching agreements with the electricity companies.

The Gypaetus Foundation has the work of 7 technicians with exclusive dedication to this project, in addition to the collaboration of partners, volunteers and a multitude of friends. If you want to help the bearded vulture again delight us with its presence in our skies, do not hesitate to contact us through our website, but you should know that anything you do for the benefit of the environment will be benefiting the bearded vulture and its project of reintroduction. We are working to make the reintroduction of the bearded vulture a reality in spring 2006.

Video: Cinereous Vulture Reintroduction From Spain to France and Bulgaria (June 2022).