Photo 1. Griffon vultures being released (Photo by the Association Biom)
FIVE GRIFFON VULTURES RELEASED INTO NATURE FROM THE BELI RESCUE CENTRE
After recovering for several months, five young griffon vultures were successfully released into nature on Friday, 2 December 2016.
In July, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, in cooperation with the Town of Cres, once again opened the Griffon Vulture Rescue Centre at Beli on Cres Island, in the same location previously occupied by the Eco-Centre “Caput-insulae”. Public Institution Priroda is responsible for managing and coordinating all activities in the Rescue Centre. By September, the Centre received five griffon vultures (named Vili, Beli, Nika, Renato and Bugar) which were placed in a flight aviary (a mesh wire enclosure) to recover.
The Kvarner population of griffon vultures is unique in the world because these vultures build their nests on cliffs, directly above the sea, and it often happens that their young fall into the water when first learning to fly. Sadly, some of them drown.
Fortunately, the vultures rescued this year at the foot of the cliffs managed to pull themselves out of the water and on to the rocks where they were found. After a full recovery and having satisfied all preconditions, the time finally arrived for them to be set free. Before being released, the vultures were examined by a veterinary doctor and an ornithologist, who confirmed the birds were in satisfactory physical condition for release. The team also consisted of employees of the Zagreb Zoo and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, members of the Association BIOM and representatives of PI Priroda.
The vultures were released at the site of the future feeding station, where a sheep carcass had been placed earlier to provide the vultures with accessible food during the initial period of their adjustment to life in nature. To increase their chances of survival, especially during the first year of their lives, food (carcasses) will regularly be placed in the same spot to provide a safe food source and ensure that the vultures can feed freely. As soon as our griffon vultures took to the skies, they were immediately joined by other vultures, which we hope will make their adjustment to life in the wild as painless as possible. May they live long and enjoy favourable winds!
Photo 5. The release of the vultures was carefully coordinated to reduce stress in the birds (Photo by the Association Biom)
Photo 7. Flying free for the first time after several months of recovery (Photo by the Association Biom)