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Tracking the Bearded Vulture by Satellite


Cara J

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Researchers using satellite technology to track massive vultures through the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain have shown that the endangered birds need a good overlap of predictable feeding sources and home ranges in order to lower the threat of extinction. A bearded vulture was kitted out with a satellite transmitter and wing tags enabling long-distance monitoring.Image Credit: Juan Antonio Gil (FCQ) Bearded vultures (Gypaetus barbatus) are one of Spain’s most threatened carrion-feeding birds, with populations in the Pyrenees and other parts of Europe becoming nearly expurgated in the early 20th century. The population has been recovering in more recent decades in the Pyrenees, going from 39 breeding units in 1994 to 86 in 2014 in the Spanish autonomous community of Aragon. Researchers used satellite telemetry to follow the birds’ movements to establish a precise range. “Nine birds of various ages were caught and marked in order to establish the relationship between supplementary feeding points — those traditionally known as ‘rubbish tips’ and specifically established sources of food throughout the Pyrenees — and these birds’ movements,” said Pascual López, a coauthor of the study published in the journal Aldeola recently. The results showed bearded vulture range with unprecedented precision, revealing that some [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/tracking-the-bearded-vulture-by-satellite/

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