Some members of our European offices in Annecy, France recently participated in a volunteer program aimed at reintroduction of the previously extinct Bearded Vulture to the Alps. Their hands-on contributions to these efforts got them up close and personal with these amazing birds. Birds and colleagues alike enjoyed a spectacular day in a remarkably beautiful place. The following report was prepared by our Environmental Coordinator for our European offices:
Wednesday the 3rd of september, Patagonia Europe took 20 employees outside for an enviro fieldwork session. We helped an organization called ASTERS (Agir pour la Sauvegarde des Territoires et des Espèces Remarquables ou Sensibles), which has one of the five European raising centers dedicated to the Bearded Vulture.
The Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) is one of the rarest raptors in Europe. Its main food source is bones of dead animals (small- or middle-sized), hunting alone or in pairs. The Bearded vulture reaches 1.10 meter (3.6 feet) in size (from head to tail), its wingspan is around 2.8 m (9.2 feet) and it weighs about 5-7 kg (11-16 lbs).
[Photo: A Bearded Vulture, as featured on the ASTERS website]
This amazing bird was extinguished from the Alps in the last century and this organization, in co-ordination with other conservation organizations in Europe, began a re-introduction in 1987. The raising center keeps 3 couples of the Bearded Vulture dedicated to the multiplication of the species.
We spent the day in different field works: rebuilding and cleaning of the nests, cutting the grass, cutting dead trees threatening the nests, etc. At the end of the day, the birds were brought back and we all had the pleasure to discover them in their new clean house.
A great fieldwork day in a wonderful place!
Some outstanding images of bearded vultures can be seen
[PHOTOS: Top-Patagonia Europe team lends a hand to ASTERS at the foot of Mont Blanc; Bottom-Volunteers Irene Gusmaroli and Laurent Philibert carry Bearded Vulture back to its shelter after nest cleaning has been completed. Both photos: Isabelle Susini]