Eight young Egyptian vultures born in captivity at the CERM Raptors threatened Center were released in Basilicata, in the Murgia Materana Regional Natural Park, in two different release operations implemented between late July and mid-August 2019 by the CERM Association and by ISPRA.
Never before in Europe had such a large number of Egyptian vulture had been released in the same year: this was made possible thanks to the large number of chicks that, in recent years, were born in captivity at CERM.
The liberation, for the first time, involved at the same time animals of three different ages: Leonardo and Nino born in May 2019, Diego, Jane and Kate born in 2018 and Beatrice, Francesca and Lucrezia born in 2017. It was a first time also with regard to the release of two-year-olds in Italy, which had never been experienced before, as only individuals born in the same year or the previous year had been released.
Before the release, the animals were hosted for a few days in a nest box located in a strategic position in the Murgia of Matera, already used for the release of two individuals in 2018. After this brief period of acclimatization, the nest box was opened and the young Egyptian vultures were free to fly away.
Near the structure an additional feeding point has been set up while other food aid has been provided in the areas gradually frequented by young vultures, all with the aim of facilitating their adaptation to wild life.
The release was divided into two rounds of release: the first, with the opening of the nest box on 29 July, involved the three individuals born in 2018 and one of those born in 2017 (Francesca), while the second, with the opening of the crate nest on 15 August, involved the two young people born in 2019 and two of those born in 2017 (Beatrice and Lucrezia).
All eight young Egyptian vultures had already spent time not far from the liberation area since they were guests of the aviaries of the Wild Animal Recovery Center of Matera.
The release operations were organized by the CERM Association and ISPRA and several volunteers took part. On the field, in particular, have operated Guido Ceccolini and Anna Cenerini (CERM), Alessandro Andreotti, Andrea Ferri and Arianna Aradis (ISPRA), Matteo Visceglia and Mariangela Francione (CERM and CRAS Matera – Oasi di G. Giuliano), Maristella D ‘ Addario and Victor Hugo Muñoz Mora.
The movements of the eight young Egyptian vultures are monitored by the ISPRA and the CERM Association thanks to the GPS / GSM dataloggers with which they are equipped and which have been made available by ISPRA and the VCF Vulture Conservation Foundation.
The forest Carabinieri and numerous volunteers will be informed in real time about the location of the Egyptian vultures during the autumn migration to Africa so that they can intervene to avoid poaching and provide support to young vultures if necessary.