A bearded vulture hatched in the Tallinn Zoo meets its mate in the Prague Zoo
On the afternoon of Thursday, October 22, a young female bearded vulture(Gypaetus barbatus), which hatched on March 13, 2020, was swiftly and gently placed in a transport box and sent towards the Prague Zoo. The transfer was successful, the bird survived the journey that lasted almost 20 hours and its adaptation to the new home is now being monitored by Czech experts on birds of prey. At the Prague Zoo, a young bearded vulture hatched at the Berlin Zoo is waiting for her, but the mates may not become a couple until 4-5 years after they both reach sexual maturity.
According to Jelena Semjonova, senior animal curator of Tallinn Zoo, our zoo has a cooperation agreement with the European protection organisation for the birds of prey, Vulture Conservation Foundation for the reproduction of bearded vultures, which contributes to the restoration of bearded vulture populations in nature and determines the future of young bearded vultures hatched in artificial conditions throughout Europe.
In 2020, bearded vultures laid 71 eggs in European zoos and other artificial conditions, and 25 bearded vulture chicks hatched.
Our couple of bearded vultures laid two eggs this year and both chicks hatched in the incubator at the zoo: the first on March 13 and the second on April 23.
Bearded vulture chicks hatching in the Tallinn Zoo are of the utmost importance, because the transmission of the genome of the male bird living here is curcial in enriching the genetic diversity of bearded vultures. However, it is well-known that our female bird gives up hatching just before the chick hatches and does not allow neither the male bird complete the work. Therefore, the eggs are taken from the nest and the chicks are hatched in an incubator.
In order for our vulture chicks to still be able to enter the nature, the hatched chicks must be taken to the care of their bearded vulture foster parents at the earliest opportunity. In 2011, 2016 and 2019, a total of four bearded vultures hatched in the Tallinn Zoo were brought from Tallinn Zoo to the Owl & Birds of Prey Rescue Station of Haringsee in Austria to be raised by their bearded vulture foster parents.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the emergency situation in the world, during this spring there was no possibility to transport vulture chicks and the employees of the zoo’s bird department had to raise young bearded vultures by themselves.
The female bearded vulture, which hatched on March 13, will carry the gene of the bearded vultures at the Prague Zoo. The male bearded vulture, hatched on April 23, is still waiting for the coordinator’s decision regarding his new home.