Bad news for two of the four Egyptian vultures freed in Basilicata in May 2022. What happened after the release has, unfortunately, confirmed that poaching remains an important cause of death and that the impact against wind turbines is a threat that hangs over the species also in Italy, as is ascertained in other European areas.
At the end of May, the signals received from Flora’s GPS, located in the northern part of Basilicata, pointed out various anomalies that triggered the alarm. The ornithologists of De Rerum natura sas and various members of CERM have dedicated themselves to his research and, at the same time, ISPRA has alerted the forest police. The information collected suggests that Flora was the victim of an act of poaching.
Immediately after his release, Sid undertook various trips between Basilicata and Puglia, showing that he was perfectly capable of living in nature. During his wanderings Sid met Diego, the Egyptian vulture freed in 2019 and the subject of many news about his incredible movements: on May 30 the two young people stopped at the same time in a small ravine near Santeramo in Colle (TA).
On 18 July the GPS signals indicated Sid stopped in an area of the municipality of Lavello (PZ), in the northern part of Basilicata, where numerous wind power plants are located. After the alert launched by the Director of CERM Guido Ceccolini, the local representative of Italia Nostra Vitantonio Iacoviello and Mr. Di Ciommo, owner of a neighboring farm, searched for and then identified Sid near a wind turbine. The unlucky Egyptian vulture was captured and entrusted to the operators of the CRAS of Matera Matteo Visceglia and Mariangela Francione. Veterinarians Olimpia Lai and Flavio Pesce are taking care of him but, unfortunately, Sid will no longer be able to fly because the wind blade has cut off a part of his left wing and it is a coincidence that he is still alive.
Pina stayed for a couple of weeks in the release area and then moved to the southern tip of Salento, in Puglia. As soon as the GPS indicated its position in the inhabited center of Castro Marina (LE), it was understood that the animal was in difficulty and the rescue operation was started. On 3 June Pina was recovered on the terrace of a building by the zoophile guard Antonio Umberto Fedele supported by the Forestry Carabinieri of Otranto and then handed over to the Wild Animal Recovery Center of Calimera (LE), where she was given first care. She lost weight and she was hungry. Later she was transferred to CRAS of Matera and she quickly recovered here, so much so that on 25 July 2022 she was freed again in the Murgia Materana Park.
This time Pina moved towards the north of Basilicata, Abruzzo and Molise and she adapted well to wild life, as noted by a group of ornithologists who respectfully observed and photographed her and provided her with food support ( Giulia Pace of the Abruzzo Ornithological Station and Nicola Norante of the Molise Ornithological Studies Group).
From the fourth freed Egyptian vulture, Dina, no GPS signals have been received since mid-June. The animal appeared to have remained in the release area but the search with the VHF receiver did not give any result.