Italo-Tunisian network for monitoring the migration of Egyptian Vultures released into the wild

Following the release of Bianca and Clara in the southern Italian region of Basilicata in August 2018, it was possible to set-up a network of public bodies, associations, ornithologists and enthusiasts who monitored the progress of the two birds, in some cases, observing and leaving food out for them during the course of their migration.

Bianca perching on a medium voltage electrical circuit breaker in Sicily (photo P. Leanza)

This monitoring and support network, which was developed in response to the provisions of action C.7 of the LIFE project, which will be expanded further over the coming years, was created and managed by ISPRA (Environmental Protection and Research Institute) and the CERM (Endangered Raptor Centre) Association during the course of Bianca and Clara’s migration. It involved contributions from a wide variety of bodies and individuals who followed the progress of the two Egyptian Vultures, providing support right up until their met their tragic end: the staff at ISPRA and CERM would like to express their sincerest gratitude to all those who participated in the network.

In particular, the following subjects participated in the network:


  • The StOrCal (Calabrian Ornithological Station) Association. Several members spent their time attempting to obtain sightings of the two Egyptian Vultures and were ready to provide support or food as necessary (special thanks to Manuela Policastrese, Salvatore Urso and Mimmo Bevacqua).
  • Aspromonte national park, Director Sergio Tralongo.


  • Pietro Leanza. Pietro identified, monitored and photographed Bianca in an area to the south of Mount Etna, where he was able to document her habit of resting on electricity pylons, which are extremely hazardous to bird-life in general.
  • The veterinary surgeon Nino Di Luca. Nino monitored and photographed Bianca close to the town of Sciacca and left food out for her.
  • Enzo Sciabica and Antonino Barbera. Enzo and Antonio were responsible for identifying Clara in the area around the city of Trapani and collaborated with the CITES Command of the Carabinieri in recovering her body.
  • Egidio Mallia. Egidio followed the progress of the two Egyptian Vultures and provided veterinary advice.
  • The CITES Division of the Carabinieri in Rome (Commandant Gen. B. Massimiliano Conti). The Division activated the Carabinieri of the CITES Command in Sicily as soon as it became apparent that Clara was in difficulty (the matter was handled directly by Sergeant Annalisa Brucoli).
  • The Crimes Against Nature service of the Carabinieri Environmental Protection Command in Palermo (Maj. Andrea Li Volsi), the CITES Environmental Protection Command of the Carabinieri in Palermo (Pvt. Giuseppe Garofalo) and the CITES Command of Trapani-Porto (Sgt. Cristiano Palazzolo and Pvt First Class. Maurizio Ale). The above personnel were deployed rapidly in the search for Clara, recovered he body and initiated the subsequent investigations in to the cause of her death.


  • The Carabinieri of the Aspromonte National Park Division, Pantelleria National Park Command (under the command of Major Pietro Marchetta). Upon being alerted of the imminent arrival of Bianca, the above personnel began surveillance operations in the area where the Egyptian Vulture rested overnight. Sergeant Celestino Carcione also left food out for Bianca.
  • The National Park Director, Antonio Parrinello, proposed a series of initiatives, including creating a feeding point for birds of prey on the island.


  • The Association “Les Amis des Oiseaux” (AAO/BirdLife Tunisie). Hichem Azafzaf (President), Claudia Feltrup (Director) and Hedi Aissa (member) made every effort to assist Bianca and determine the cause of her dead.
Bianca photographed in the area around the town of Sciacca (photo N. Di Luca)

The various bodies and individuals listed above exchanged information by telephone, email and whatsapp. In particular, a temporary whatsapp group of 32 participants was created, which was used to keep them updated about the movements of the two birds following their release, including updated maps and the coordinates of the confirmed fixes; this activity was carried out by Guido Ceccolini (CERM), Alessandro Andreotti and Andrea Ferri (ISPRA).

Life Egyptian Vulture