Bavaria: Sad news: bearded vulture Wally is dead, sister approaches

Bavaria
Sad news: bearded vulture Wally is dead, sister is coming

They all hoped until the end, but now it’s clear: Wally, the female bearded vulture that was released a year ago, is now dead. In a few days, two young bearded vultures will arrive in Berchtesgaden National Park – one of them is Wally’s younger sister.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen (dpa / lby) – no one expected it, but now there is a sad certainty: the missing female bearded vulture Wally is dead. A climbing team from the LBV National Bird Protection Association found the remains of an animal that had disappeared since mid-April. Bones, feathers, rings and transmitters lay in an inaccessible gorge at an altitude of 1,500 meters, LBV reported on Monday.

“We’ve always been aware that such setbacks could happen, but we are terrified of Wally’s death,” said LBV CEO Norbert Schäffer. Why Wally died is unclear.

The causes are still under investigation. Animals could die from collisions with cable car cables, poisoning with lead-containing hunting ammunition, or being shot illegally. But there are also natural causes, such as avalanches and fights with golden eagles.

Wally and female Bavaria bearded vulture were released into the wild in Berchtesgaden National Park last summer, more than 100 years after the extermination of bearded vultures in Germany. In about a week, two young female bearded vulture from the same breeding program in Spain are due to join – one of them is Wally’s younger sister, the other is a Bavarian cousin.

According to LBV, the trip to the Zugspitze was Wally’s first major voyage over several hundred kilometers – he didn’t come back. Wally was considered more loyal to the place and national than Bavaria, which circled as far as Vienna. She had returned to Berchtesgaden National Park just as Wally disappeared.

Bavaria is doing well, the LBV emphasized. Two birds have a large fan base. A lot of people followed the trips of the two on the LBV side – and were involved in Wally’s disappearance.

When she suddenly failed to locate in April, it was assumed that she had just lost a transmitter. Even international experts considered it unlikely that the bird, which according to all the data and observations was healthy, could die on the inaccessible slopes of the Reintal nature reserve. According to national park project manager Ulrich Brendel, nine out of ten young birds survive the first year in the international reintroduction program.

When the LBV recently received a short signal from a GPS transmitter for the first time, environmentalists began a search. Seasoned climbers set off seven times and zipped down the rope before encountering feathers and bones, Wally’s wedding ring, and a GPS tracker.

“The team hopefully gave an even clearer idea of ​​the possible location, but such a sad result is obviously bitter for everyone involved in the project,” said LBV project manager Toni Wegscheider. “We assumed that only the transmitter is 90 percent of the time.”

Occasional deaths also occur in other countries such as Austria, France and Switzerland. Overall, according to LBV, the reintroduction of bearded vultures in the European Alps is more successful than almost any other reintroduction program.

Two more bearded vultures are due to arrive in Berchtesgaden National Park on June 9. In 2021, they will live in the same niche as their older relatives. Young birds still have breeding names BG1145 and BG1147. But they should also get “real” names like their popular predecessors. Many people followed their release extensively via the live webcam.

With a wingspan of up to 2.90 meters, bearded vultures are the largest breeding birds in the Alps, but they are harmless to humans and animals: they eat only carrion – and almost only bones.

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