Rehabilitated Cres Griffon Vultures Released!

Lauren Simmonds

cres griffon vultures
All images: Romulic and Stojcic

May the 30th, 2024 – The island of Cres in the Kvarner archipelago is a refuge of the strictly protected griffon vulture. Some fantastic news as several rehabilitated Cres griffon vultures have been released home.

As Morski writes, eight young individuals of the strictly protected species of griffon vultures were released yesterday from the Vulture Rehabilitation Centre in Beli on the island of Cres. These birds were unfortunately forced to spend some time recovering due to unfortunate circumstances, inexperience or health problems. After recuperating from their respective issues, the Cres griffon vultures have been returned to their natural habitat.

“From 2016 to today, we’ve managed to return a total of 73 Cres griffon vultures from the Recovery Centre back home to nature! Work on the preservation of a strictly protected and charismatic species, such as the vulture, is a very challenging, complex and long-term process. Numerous stakeholders and partners are involved throughout the year and at all levels, these include Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, the relevant ministry, the Zagreb ZOO , the scientific and local communities and many others,” pointed out Marko Modrić, director of the Public Institution “Priroda” (Nature), which manages the Visitor Centre and the Vulture Recovery Centre in Beli.

Some birds which have released into the wild in recent years remain alive and well, which is known thanks to the easily visible plastic rings they wear on their legs or tracking via small GPS transmitters. Of the eight recently released Cres griffon vultures, three carry just such transmitters, the battery of which is solar charged.

The activity of marking these birds with transmitters and their telemetry monitoring with the aim of obtaining valuable data on the use of space, both in Kvarner and beyond, is part of the LIFE SUPport project, whose leading partner is the BIOM Association.

“Most of the Cres griffon vultures that are released from the Convalescent Centre are young individuals. In their first few years of their life, they’re naturally inclined to fly around Europe and beyond. How much time they will actually spend in Kvarner is difficult to say with certainty. One of the positive measures for the preservation of these vultures is the existence of dedicated feeding grounds for vultures currently on Cres and Učka, and through the LIFE SUPport project, we plan to register and open another feeding ground on the island of Krk,” pointed out project leader Dubravko Dender.

During June, as part of the LIFE SUPport project, the annual monitoring of the vulture population for 2024 will be completed. It will determine the final number of nesting pairs living on Cres, as well as young vultures that are ready to leave the safety of the nest. The organisations involved in the project expect good results that will show the progress of this population of the last scavenger species living freely in Croatia.


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