New bearded vulture pair at the Wildlife Centre

They are part of the European breeding and reintroduction programme for this species.

Nestled within the high-mountain environment, MónNatura Pirineus Wildlife Centre provides the perfect habitat for the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus). Recognising this, the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) saw great potential in including these vultures in the European breeding and reintroduction programme. In Catalonia, they are classified as an “endangered” species.

In 2011, the VCF donated two bearded vulture specimens, affectionately named “Roc” and “Àneu” by the students of La Closa School in Esterri d’Àneu. This pair seamlessly aligned with the centre’s mission: contributing to the conservation of protected species and fostering environmental education and awareness.

Over the past 11 years, hundreds of families and children have visited them, and they have played an indispensable role in environmental education. However, they have been less successful in their roles as a reproductive pair. Despite reaching sexual maturity, they haven’t succeeded in breeding. Therefore, in October, a decision was made to transfer Roc and Àneu to the Vallcalent Wildlife Centre, the project coordinators in Catalonia. They have been placed in a monitored enclosure alongside another breeding pair to encourage their reproductive behaviour.

To continue supporting the project, we’ve introduced a new pair of bearded vultures, which as distinguished by their youthful plumage, are both less than a year old.

The female, named Guka, is the offspring of a pair from the Torreferrusa Wildlife Centre. Her father hatched from an egg collected from a Pyrenees nest after his parents abandoned it due to disturbances from quad bikes. Her mother, on the other hand, is a female born in Vienna, the daughter of a project founder.

The male was the second egg of a pair at the Beauval Zoo in France. Due to this species’ cannibalistic behaviour (competition among siblings, often resulting in one’s death), he was separated from his parents and raised at Vallcalent with an excellent foster mother from the same centre.

This bearded vulture pair possesses a fascinating genetic make-up for the reintroduction project, making them valuable additions to the MónNatura Pirineus family. They share the same objectives as Roc and Àneu: growing strong and healthy to become an excellent breeding pair and, in the process, assisting us in our vital mission of environmental education and awareness at the centre.