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Conducted jointly with the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) within the framework of the European Endangered Breeding Species Program (EEP) implemented internationally under the responsibility of the European Association of Zoos and Aquarias (EAZA), the Life GypConnect Program stands out as a strategic priority for the VCF (cf. Bearded vulture Alpine Reintroduction Project - Release rationale and strategy 2014-2016) and operates within the framework of the different European Programs (implemented since 1974) in favor of the conservation of the Bearded Vulture and its reintroduction in its endemic territories.
Via these programs, the French Bearded Vulture population is currently being restored, with 9 pairs in the French Alps, 40 in the French Pyrenees and 5 in Corsica in 2015. Despite these efforts, there seems to be little or no exchanges between the Bearded Vulture populations in the Alps and Pyrenees.
The main goals of the LIFE GYPCONNECT Program in favor of the Bearded Vulture include:
The LIFE GYPCONNECT Program has to this end designed action plans to strengthen Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) populations and to promote exchanges between the core populations of the Alps and Pyrenees. The program is based on current reintroduction operations in the Pre-Alps (Drôme) and Massif Central (Lozère, Aveyron, Gard, Hérault) and to improve access to food resources in the Eastern regions of the Pyrenees (Aude).
The reintroduction programs in the Drôme and Massif Central regions (Lozère, Aveyron, Gard) aim at promoting exchanges between the birds in the Alps and Pyrenees and thus to more globally contribute to genuine sustainability between the Central and Southern Europe populations.
The LIFE GYPCONNECT program is therefore an undeniable asset in revitalizing the return of the Bearded Vulture to its endemic area of distribution. Both from the standpoint of population dynamics, genetic diversity and as regards sustainability probabilities, the project is of considerable importance to the return of the Bearded Vulture to Europe.