25. 06. 12. - 16:31
Bearded vultures released into the Austrian Alps
Two rare bearded vultures have been released in the National Park Hohe Tauern in East Tyrol as part of a continuing reintroduction programme to maintain a permanent population of the birds in the Alps.
Both of the newly released bearded vultures were taken from the wild in Andalusia, Spain.
Once these magnificent birds with a wingspan of 2.30 to 2.80 metres were to be found in the mountains all over southern Europe and across the Alps.
In legends and tales bearded vultures were depicted as bloodthirsty beasts that rob children and kill chamois and lambs - one of the reasons they were hunted to the point of extinction.
They were shot, poisoned and trapped for collections before conservation work got underway.
In fact they are only scavengers, and harmless to both children and lambs say environmentalists.
The only regions in Europe where they are still present are the Pyrenees, Corsica, and Crete - and even here they are highly endangered.
The reintroduction programme started in the Alps in 1978, and the first release of bearded vultures took place in 1986 in the National Park Hohe Tauern.
So far 170 vultures have been released, 53 of which in the National Park Hohe Tauern.
A significant part of the project is the monitoring of the bearded vultures that have been released.
When they are young, the researchers mark them in order to be able to identify them before they get their adult plumage.
Additionally a network of voluntary observers consisting of locals, ornithologists, hunters, tourists, and of course, the employees of the national park, has been founded to keep an eye on their progress.
Since 2009 the young bearded vultures are also monitored by satellite GPS systems.
More at: http://www.hohetauern.at/de/bartgeier-online.html