Bearded vulture reintroduction program

  • Focal species: Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)
  • Secondary species: Black vulture, Bonelli's eagle, Egyptian vulture, Golden eagle, griffon vulture, short-toed eagle
  • Countries: France
  • Name of organisation: LPO France
  • Support requested:
    contributions for specific items >1000 euro,
    contributions to running of project <1000 euro,
    materials
  • Does this project benefit local people through employment and/or capacity building: yes
  • Does this project benefit local people in other ways: The livestock farmers who decide to have their own rendering plot can benefit from a tax reduction for their carcass disposal service. Vultures resume their position as natural renderers. Especially in moutainous areas, many farms have difficult access so vultures are more efficient than the public rendering service. Being an emblematic species, it's also a real tourist attraction and an opportunity for the local tourism industry who can offer activities linked to this specie.

Project Description

The bearded vulture is the only member of the genus Gypaetus and its world population trend is decreasing. It’s registered as “Vulnerable” (SPEC 3) on the IUCN European red list and as “endangered” on the IUCN France red list. Also registered on annex I of the European Parliament Birds Directive and on annex II to the Convention of Berne, Boon and Washington. The main causes of on-going declines appear to be poisoning, direct persecution, habitat degradation, disturbance of breeding birds, inadequate food availability, changes in livestock-rearing practices and collisions with powerlines and wind turbines .
This emblematic vulture, is the last link of the food chain being the only carrion feeder cleaner eating bones exclusively.
The french bearded vulture’s population includes the alpine population, the pyrenean population and an isolated tiny corsican population, with the total national number of breeding pairs remaining low. The bearded vulture reintroduction project in the Massif Central has been established since 2012, in order to connect the two existing continental populations and create a meta-population viable on the long term, by means of improving genetic flows. These conservation efforts are part of a european strategy, and this project currently benefits of european commission support and is known as LIFE GYPCONNECT. The various actions regarding this project and carried out by LPO Grands Causses (technical structure of LPO France) are: Juvenile release coming from european endangered species breeding program and by using the “hacking” release method , monitoring of individuals movement by GPS analyses and sightings, ensuring sufficient quantities of local and externally sourced food available (rendering plots on individual livestock farms to benefit vultures, special bearded vulture feeding sites, vigilance and threat management (hunting, poisoning, powerlines and wind turbines…), public awareness through various audiences.

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