All of the birds are the chicks hatched this year in the nests built on the east-facing steep cliffs near Beli on Cres. Their first flights didn’t really end well, so they landed in the sea and were rescued thanks to the dedication of the local community and nautical and other tourists, who reported their falls to the employees of the Visitors centre and sanctuary for griffon vultures. The gang of ten released today have interesting names: Tarej, Ledenko, Špilja, Poskok, Alpioniscus, Harpactia, Kristal, Duga, Zlatan and Stalaktit.
The sanctuary is managed by the Public Institution “Priroda”, owned by the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. In the five years since they’ve been in charge 51 recovered vultures were given another lease on life.
Four of the griffon vultures were provided with special instruments which will record their movements after the release. The cooperation between the Priroda Institution and the BIOM Association has lasted for years, and they’ve been supplying the GPS trackers for the Cres Vultures through their various projects.
The director of the Priroda Institution Irena Jurić told the Croatian Radiotelevision that the GPS tracking, in addition to providing valuable info on the vultures’ movements, repeatedly allowed the scientists to rescue the vultures who have found themselves in dire straits – again. For instance, the vulture named Kvarner was released in 2018, after being saved on Cres, only to be saved again in Italy when it was noticed that he wasn’t moving. After a long recovery, he was once more released and is currently living a happy life in France.
The Zagreb Zoo has been supporting the Beli Sanctuary since its inception, with its expertise and veterinary care. Damir Skok, the Zagreb Zoo director said that modern zoos have a large role in the education of the public, especially when it comes to the preservation of the protected species.
Thanks to the combining the methods of putting rings on the birds and the GPS following, the scientists know that one of the vultures from Cres named Vranac was noticed near Vienna in June, Marin V. was seen near Udine ten days after being released, Barbara was registered in the Austrian Alps and Taras made a round from the north of Poland to the Sisak-Moslavina County.
These days, the griffon vultures only make their nests in Croatia on the islands of Cres, Krk, Prvić and Plavnik. That’s why a lot of effort is put into preserving the endangered majestic species of birds.