Griffon Vultures Palina, Coline, Lima, and Anton are soaring again the skies over Kvarner

  • 18.09.2023.

Griffon vulture marked with a GPS device; photo: JU Priroda

Palina, Coline, Lima, and Anton, 4 recovered griffon vultures were released back into nature at the end of last week, 15th September, from the Beli Rescue Centre for Griffon Vultures located on the island of Cres and operated by the public institution “Priroda” (JU Priroda).

In Croatia, a network of 11 official rehabilitation and rescue centres exists with the main purpose of admitting, caring, and rehabilitating exhausted, injured, poisoned, or otherwise afflicted wild animals, with the end goal of returning them to nature.
These 4 griffon vultures are young birds that were found exhausted under cliff nesting sites on Cres and Plavnik or were rescued from drowning directly at sea, drowning being one of the most common causes of mortality for Kvarner vultures nesting on seaside cliffs.
“An especially joyous moment for any rehabilitation centre is when a wild species is “returned” to nature, getting another chance for a fresh start. When the ability to monitor and track that individual in nature is present as well, to really be able to confirm that the animal has managed well on its own, the pleasure is even greater”, director of JU Priroda Marko Modrić stated during the release.
And that was the case on Friday 15, when, in the presence of some partners from LIFE SUPport project, four young griffon vultures equipped with small GPS devices were released, allowing experts to continue tracking them in the wild.

Cres and Kvarner Bay from the perspective of vultures

The release itself was preceded by health checks; a complete blood analysis was done by the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Zagreb as well as a veterinary health check by the Zagreb ZOO. After getting the “green light” Palina, Coline, Lima, and Anton once again soared over Kvarner islands.

Before the release, the Beli Rescue Centre hosted a workshop led by an expert from the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF), where employees of BIOM and JU Priroda learnt how to prepare GPS transmitters to be fitted on griffon vultures using the “leg-loop” method, as opposed to the “backpack” method that was mostly used until now. The new method reduces possible interference with the bird’s life in the wild even more.

The collaboration between JU Priroda, experts from Zagreb ZOO, Veterinary Faculty, and civil society organisation BIOM is an example of a successful synergy between multiple institutions for the purpose of conserving a strictly protected species that currently numbers around 125 breeding pairs, and is the only vulture species still present in Croatia.

First flight after recovery

In the spirit of conserving and improving the griffon vulture population in Croatia, a 5-year programme LIFE SUPport started this year. The partnership for the project consists of the BIOM as the leading partner, the public institution Priroda, the Agricultural Association “Otok Krk”, the HEP Distribution System Operator, and the Vulture Conservation Foundation. The associate partner for implementing a part of the project activities is the Department for Nature Conservation of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development which regularly contributes to a part of the funds used in the Rescue Centre for the care of griffon vultures, in line with the Regulation on sanctuaries for wild animals. This projects is run with the support of EU’s LIFE program, the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund (EPEEF), and the Government of the Republic of Croatia.

Photo: JU Priroda

This document was created with the financial support of the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency. The content of this document is the sole responsibility of the Association Biom and under no circumstances can it be considered as a reflection of the position of the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency.

This project is co-financed by the Office for NGOs of the Government of the Republic of Croatia. The views expressed in this press release are the sole responsibility of the Biom Association.

The LIFE SUPport project is co-financed by the European Union. The views expressed are exclusively those of the project partners and do not necessarily represent the views of the European Union or CINEA. Neither the European Union nor the supporting institution can be held responsible for them.