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First egg of Bearded Vultures in Bulgaria was laid in the Rescue Centre of Green Balkans for the past 60 years

First egg of Bearded Vultures in Bulgaria was laid in the Rescue Centre of Green Balkans for the past 60 years

07.02.2016
After nine long years of work, countless efforts and tense waiting, a serious of challenges and disappointments, the team of the Wildlife Rescue Centre is happy to announce the first laid egg of Bearded Vulture for the past over 60 years.

There are not enough words to describe the feelings when a dream comes true. One of the ideas behind the establishment of the Rescue Centre back in 1996 is bringing back species gone extinct from Bulgaria and Bearded Vulture has always been on top of our list.

The first step was taken in 2007, when the Rescue Center hosted two Bearded Vultures, sent from the specialized breeding centre Richard Faust, Austria, by Dr. Hans Frey, coordinator of the Bearded Vulture Endangered Species Programme (EEP).

The female, which we still have, is of 25 % Cretan and 75 % Asian origin and is a very important as a genetic founder. The male unfortunately died of Aspergilosis only a month after their arrival in the Centre. This is how our lady got her second mate, this time an year older than her and of 100 % Asian origin.

The pair has been the only live Bearded Vultures in Bulgaria since the vanishing of the species in the middle of the last century.

What followed was eight long years of waiting and only in 2015 we observed the very first copulations. The female did put up a fight and the poor male had to sacrifice a significant amount of his beautiful feathers.
In the beginning of 2016, the pair of Bearded Vultures resumed their courtship and about a month after the start of the copulations, today the female laid her very first egg.

The young mother is very attentive and despite her lack of experience, she is sitting very tight. This gives us hopes that the birds will handle the incubation well.

Despite that, a minimum of four experts, two of them in Austia and Spain, follow closely the behavior of the birds through the web-cameras mounted in the aviary and the team of the Rescue Centre is ready to immediately interfere in case it becomes needed.

Our colleagues from the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) who coordinate the Bearded Vulture EEP have already announced that the very first chick hatched within the captive breeding programme has appeared on January 30th, in Andalucia, Spain. The programme currently comprises a total of 32 breeding pairs and our egg would be the 50th laid this year.

Despite all this excitement, we are aware that there is a long way until reaching the aim of having Bearded Vultures free-flying in the Bulgarian sky.

The very first egg is however a significant step ahead. News we should really celebrate!

Fro more information:
Hristina Klisurova, Veterinarian - PR Green Balkans Resque Centre
Tel.: +359886570053, e-mail: hhristova@greenbalkans.org