By Andrew Atkinson
A Griffon Vulture has been returned to its natural habitat – after spending days in Punta Prima, Orihuela Costa.
Spain has the biggest colony of Griffon vultures in Europe, located at Hoces del Rio Duraton Natural Park, in the Province of Segovia.
In Spain and France, there were 25,000 birds, a decade ago, increased from a few thousand in the late seventies, early eighties.
A vulture was returned to its natural environment this month, after landing at Alicante-Elche airport, by the Wildlife Control Unit (WCU), reported by The Leader.
Hundreds of vultures have returned to the Costa Blanca and Costa Calida areas, after an alarming fall in numbers in recent years.
The Pyrenees population was affected, following an EC mandate, due to danger of BSE transmission, with notification to farmers that no carcasses must be left on the fields, now lifted in Spain, to increase a natural food habit.
The Griffon vulture does not commonly attack larger living prey, but reports of Spanish Griffon vultures killing weak, young or unhealthy living animals have emerged, due to not finding enough carrion to eat.
In 2013, a woman, aged 52, hiking in the Pyrenees, who had fallen off a cliff to her death, was eaten by Griffon vultures.
Rescue workers were able to recover her body, leaving only her clothes and a few of her bones. Being the first human to be documented being eaten by Griffon vultures, the tragic death brought worldwide attention to the Griffon vulture problems in Southern Europe.