To save the endangered species, institutions and organisations from 14 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa have joined forces in the ‘Egyptian Vulture New LIFE’ project. Prague Zoo is one of them. The conservation organisations Green Balkans and BirdLife Bulgaria (BSPB) play a very important role in the return of the Egyptian vultures to nature.


Seven Egyptian vultures from in Prague

“Since 2016, when the project of releasing Egyptian vultures was introduced in Bulgaria, we have helped withbreeding and transport of twelve individuals, of which seven hatched directly in Prague Zoo,” Miroslav Bobek, the Prague Zoo’s director, said. Apart from breeding the birds, Prague Zoo also participated in the constructionof breeding aviaries in Stara Zagora and provided an off-road vehicle for their Bulgarian colleagues.


How to release vultures?

There are three distinct methods of releasing young Egyptian vultures into the wild. The most common is the delayed release, when the young birds are isolated from humans, placed directly in an aviary in the mountains and then released. The other two methods are hacking, where young birds are placed in artificial nests with a feeding station nearby, and fostering, when they are placed into the nest of a pair of wild vultures. “This is the most natural method, but the least tested, since it is the most difficult,” Antonín Vaidl, the curator of bird breeding in Prague Zoo, explains.


New families

Fostering is the method that was used earlier in August for a young bird, who was hatched to Charon and Fatima in Prague in June. The young vulture, whose sex breeders will soon know, was adopted by the Boris family in the Eastern Rhodopes. The placing took place on the 5th of August, and the young vulture was accepted by the foster parents and sibling, according to reports. Another young vulture was also fostered into another family at the same time.


Tracking vultures

The two families are being tracked with cameras and the youths are monitored with a radio system. Once the young vultures leave the nest, they will start the long journey to Africa, where they will stay for the winter. Vultures from Prague Zoo that were previously released in the Bulgarian mountains have already been tracked to Niger, Ethiopia, Chad and Sudan.

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