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King and cleaner

Focus on: The bearded vulture

The bearded vulture or lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) is a raptor of considerable size, (it can reach a wingspan of around 280cm). It was hunted to extinction in the Alps early in the twentieth century. The last sighting in the Park area was in the 1930s.

However, thanks to an international project set up by the Vulture Conservation Foundation, these magnificent birds have returned and have been flying over the Alps since 1986 and over the Park since 1994.

To date 43 bearded vultures have been released in the Marittime Mercantour area and 3 three young birds born in the wild have taken flight over the Southern Alps.

* Figures for 2015

Like all vultures, they feed on animal carcasses, particularly ungulates. However, these are the only vultures to make use of bones, which are very nourishing. To break long bones into pieces they can swallow, they have a particular skill. They drop them from a height onto rocks. We have no certified breeding of the species in the Park so far, although we have had single adults here for several years.

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Ente di gestione Aree protette delle Alpi Marittime