Volcà (meaning Volcano in Catalan) is an adult Egyptian vulture from a pair nesting in the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park where this year they raised a chick. On the 18th August, Volcà was captured and equipped with a GPS-GSM emitter. It was one of the 22 individuals captured within the context of the research project ‘Application of new technologies to know the effects of global and local change in the Iberian populations of Egyptian vulture. Applications to conservation’. This project aims at studying on which resources the Egyptian vultures depend on, since they feed on landfills, as well as they also feed on livestock or natural resources, and consequences of this diet on survival of the species need further knowledge. On the other hand, in a few years’ time the EU legislation demands that organic matter in landfills must be reduced more than 90%, which would mean that vultures would not find enough trophic resources. Thus, research is required to stablish alternative conservation measures. In addition, it is known that Egyptian vultures are trans-Saharan migrants and, therefore, GPS emitters would provide relevant information on their migration and their wintering areas, aspect that is still quite unknown.
While his son Willy was observed in Tarifa on the 25th August (see related news here), Volcà was still in the Natural Park, as well as the pair female, where they were feeding on a landfill, despite they were also seen on a meadow where cows grazed, feeding on excrements and larvae. Suddenly, on the 27th August Volcà began a journey heading west until reaching an area near Tremp. On the 28th he kept on moving west until Barbastro (Huesca) and on the 29th he moved south flying over Teruel, Albacete, Jaén and reaching Granada on the 30th. Finally, on the 31th he flew south until passing by Tarifa on the 1st September and crossing the Strait of Gibraltar and getting to Africa, where he is in Talaa LaKraa know near flying south.
This novel technology allows to obtain quite unknown information on long-distance migrants, so then it could be used to design the most adequate conservation measures. We hope that Volcà arrives at his wintering area where it will remain until next year, when he will be back to the Iberian Peninsula and his breeding area.
This research study is carried out by the Equip de Biologia de la Conservació de la Universitat de Barcelona and IRBIO with collaboration of the Departament de Ciències Ambientals de la Universitat de Girona and supported by Red Electrica de España, Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera and Diputació de Barcelona. This project received the award of the Delta Birding Festival sponsored by ICO, Oryx and Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera. In field tasks, the Mountain Support Group of Agents Rurals has been essential, as rangers of Natural Parks of Diputació de Barcelona and Generalitat de Catalunya and Subdirección General de la Biodiversidad del Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica. Grup de Naturalistes d’Osona, GACO, ICO and Naturalistes de la Garrotxa helped with monitoring and logistic tasks. Servei de la Biodiversitat de la Generalitat de Catalunya helped with logistics and permissions. Ferrovial and Consorci per a la gestió de residus urbans d’Osona also helped with logistics.