Griffin Vulture Rescue

A surfer in Luz had an unexpected rider on his board when he rescued a griffon vulture who was in trouble in the ocean off Praia da Luz.

On 14th October, residents of Luz saw a drama unfolding as a local surfer brought an exhausted young griffon vulture ashore.

Local bird expert Simons Wates told the Praia da Luz Facebook group, “Every year at this time of Eurasian griffon vulture dispersion (not migration exactly), a few birds turn up exhausted like this one in the most outlandish places. A few years back, one landed on a 4th-floor balcony in Lagos”.

Tomorrow magazine contacted the rehabilitation centre (RIAS, Olhão) where the bird was taken by their local warden. “The griffon is weak and thin, and it was injected with a multivitamin solution. It has eaten which is a good sign, but we still need to wait and see how he evolves.”

Simon Wates explains more about the bird, “They are extremely social beings and anyone who would like to see one of the most enthralling spectacles of Algarvean nature would do well to get themselves to the Sagres area. Here, the various flocks, sometimes hundreds strong, join up into the largest griffin vulture flocks known – in excess of 2,000 birds have been reliably recorded together by the bird census workers out there (me included). These movements occur between approx 10th October and mid-November – peaking usually in late October. They bring other species with them, like Rüppell’s vulture, Egyptian and Eurasian black vultures and the odd Spanish imperial and even golden eagles. Rarely are the flocks visible from Luz but can often be seen a little inland from here – Sagres is the best bet though on a good day.”

The latest report on 20th October from RIAS was: “The vulture, together with another one that arrived in the same week, have been transferred to a 50m outside enclosure. Here, they have space to practice the flight and recover their physical condition”.

All being well It will be likely released in the Baixo Alentejo, near Mértola, where it can easily rejoin groups of griffons.

RIAS – Centro de Recuperação e Investigação de Animais Selvagens
+351 927 659 313

Watch it being fed to build up its strength for release:


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