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The exceptional trip to Africa of the vultures 'Ramón' and 'Singratella'

2024-02-21T22:32:17.694Z

Highlights: SEO/BirdLife presents the results of two decades of radiotagging of the largest scavenger in Spain, a species that does not migrate. Among them are Ramón and Singratella, the only two specimens of the total that were followed that broke with the sedentary lifestyle of these scavengers. The scientists highlight the peculiar behavior of both in a research that covers the analysis of more than one million GPS locations. It is estimated that between 8,400 and 11,400 couples live in the world, spread between Europe and Asia.


SEO/BirdLife presents the results of two decades of radiotagging of the largest scavenger in Spain, a species that does not migrate, through 52 specimens. Itineraries can be viewed interactively


Daniela

,

Foga

,

Catalino

,

Quitería

... are some of the 52 black vultures radiomarked in an exhaustive study on the species in the Iberian Peninsula.

Among them are

Ramón

and

Singratella,

the only two specimens of the total that were followed that broke with the sedentary lifestyle of these scavengers - they move through the territory, but do not migrate - to make the leap to Africa and spend the winter in Senegal. .

Ramón did not return, because he probably died of poisoning.

The scientists highlight the peculiar behavior of both in a research that covers the analysis of more than one million GPS locations, and whose results are collected in the monograph presented this Wednesday by SEO/BirdLife.

The specimens tracked between 2002 and 2023 of these enormous vultures, with a wingspan of almost three meters, were marked in the large colonies in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula and in parts of Castilla y León and Catalonia, where they have been reintroduced.

It is estimated that between 8,400 and 11,400 couples live in the world, spread between Europe and Asia.

In Spain, where it has gone from being endangered in 1992 to almost threatened today, between 20% and 30% of all breeding specimens in the world population are found.

Although the juveniles are very active, the journey of

Ramón

and

Singratella

crossing the Strait of Gibraltar (14.2 kilometers) on the way to Africa surprised the researchers.

Juan Carlos del Moral, SEO/BirdLife Citizen Science coordinator, explains that it is an “exceptional” behavior, because the species is not migratory.

The passage of vultures through the Strait has been estimated, at most, at just over a dozen individuals per year.

A circumstance that did not stop these two birds.

A black vulture observes with its characteristic gaze.SEO/BirdLife (SEO/BirdLife)

Singratella

left the colony of Bormout (Lleida) where he was born and in four days he crossed the Levantine interior until he reached the Strait of Gibraltar, which he crossed at noon on November 11, 2021. From there he crossed the Sahara and settled in his winter destination. in Senegal on December 2.

In total she traveled 4,032 kilometers, at an average rate of 158 per day.

On March 23, 2022, she headed for Spain and crossed the Strait again on April 14.

His migratory movement ended a day later, because she decided to remain in the mountains of the interior of Cádiz, in addition to exploring Extremadura and Sierra Morena - home of the main colonies of Andalusia - where she finally settled.

He once again demonstrated his rebellious nature by not returning to his home colony, as usual.

Ramón , a black vulture from the Madrid colony, was

not

lucky in his adventure.

He lingered around the Sierra Morena before crossing the Strait, the Sahara and settling in the same region of Senegal as

Singratella

.

But in February 2023, he began to shorten the distance of his movements, until he remained completely motionless.

“It is assumed that the animal died, probably due to poisoning given the progressive reduction in its movements,” indicates the monograph presented today on the species.

SEO/BirdLife points out that the presence of poison in that area is “frequent”, and is one of the reasons why Ruppell's vulture is in danger of extinction in North Africa.

Return home to raise

The analysis of the data, carried out with scientists from the University of Alicante, concludes that the majority of adult vultures (from five years of age) return to the territory where the colony in which they were born lives.

There they settle and breed.

They travel an average of 2,200 kilometers monthly, indicate the authors of the monograph.

A figure that varies greatly between specimens and depending on the time of their life and the possibility of finding food.

The evolutions of marked individuals can be followed in an interactive SEO/BirdLife application.

The data show that the 41 marked young black vultures (from juvenile to subadult age of four years) made large movements around their place of origin, across large sectors of the Iberian Peninsula and southern Europe.

As they grow, they become more stable, probably because the adults are the first to access the carrion and the younger ones have to look for other places where they do not find as much competition, the monograph indicates.

Entities such as the Cabañeros National Park, the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, the Government of Extremadura, and the conservation associations Trenca and Grefa have participated in the study.

The most frequent tendency was to establish their first breeding area near the nest in which they were born, between 54 and 51 kilometers on average.

The research shows that scavengers from the eastern pre-Pyrenees, such as

Mamen

, a male marked as a chick in that region and followed for five years, and

Pip

, a male from Lleida, settled just 9 and 10 km from their nest of origin.

But the individuals from the center, center-south and west of the peninsula seem to have less attachment to their parents and they did so at several dozen kilometers, reaching 138 km in the case of

Sierra

, a specimen marked in the province of Cáceres and followed for five years.

Probably, the fundamental factors are the size and composition of the colony of origin, the environmental conditions of the region and the abundance of carrion in it (sometimes facilitated by supplementary feeding in the middens), the study states.

Juan Carlos del Moral recalls that although vultures are evolving well, they are one of the groups most threatened today by human activity, as is the case with deaths due to collisions in wind farms.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2024-02-21

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