Vultures in our rewilding areas
Three species of vultures are occurring in five of the rewilding areas where we work. The griffon vulture breeds in Western Iberia, Central Apennines and Rhodope Mountains, while it regularly visits Velebit Mountains from a nearby colony. The black vulture only breeds in the Rhodope Mountains, while it frequents the Portuguese Côa Valley in Western Iberia, coming from nearby Spanish populations.
Interestingly, in 2017 a GPS-tagged black vulture from Rhodope Mountains (Dadia National Park) was found to fly over our bison reintroduction area in the Southern Carpathians, indicating that dispersal movements are occurring more often than we might think. Egyptian vulture still breeds in good numbers in both Western Iberia and in Rhodope Mountains, although their populations are struggling to remain stable.
It is clear that vulture species still need to (further) recover in all our areas – the Southern Carpathians is now devoid of breeding vultures but seems to have suitable habitat for at least black and Egyptian vulture. However, it will take a long time and protection measures before these species could come back, or even be reintroduced.
The bearded vulture has disappeared from the Rhodope Mountains not so long ago, and like the Central Apennines this could be a potential area for future reintroductions. It might be a vagrant in Western Iberia. Velebit Mountains has potential for the return of both griffon and Egyptian vulture, however conditions for both species don’t seem to be very favorable yet, for a number of reasons.