Please do not feed
With the Bearded Vulture an impressive mountain inhabitant has returned to our Alps! An encounter with this giant glider is a memorable experience. It is not surprising, therefore, that people try to help out their luck by laying out food to attract the Bearded Vulture. This, however, is very problematic because these very rare scavengers are at risk for the following reasons:
Laid out meat and bone waste may contain harmful substances that are dangerous for the extremely sensitive Bearded Vulture. Drug residues or particles of lead shot can cause severe poisoning.
Shyness means survival
Several cases of illegal shootings indicate that the risk of poaching is still present. A natural fear of people may, therefore, be vital for the Bearded Vulture.
Concentration at food sites is risky
Like other wild animals, Bearded Vultures become accustomed to feeding sites. Accordingly, many individuals may reside at the same location. This increases the risk, in a case of poisoned food, of several Bearded Vultures being equally effected.
Stress for breeding pairs
The gathering of young, not yet settled Bearded Vultures at feeding grounds leads to stress for resident breeding pairs and can - as a study of the Pyrenees shown - jeopardize their breeding success.
Good to know!
Thanks to a large wildlife population, there is plenty of food available.
In the Alps wild ungulates such as ibex, chamois and red deer are common. Thus, even in winter there are enough carcases to satisfy the Bearded Vultures.
Photographing and Stress
Feeding sites are often operated to observe and / or to photograph Bearded Vultures up close. In approaching the birds, the Bearded Vultures are exposed to unnecessary stress.
Bearded Vultures to build a self-sustaining population
The goal of the reintroduction of the Bearded Vulture is the building of a natural, self-sustaining population. Learning and selection effects of the individuals are also important. Young animals need to learn in their early years how to independently search for food, they soon become used to feeding grounds. In order to survive long-term and to propagate, a Bearded Vulture must be able to live exclusively on natural resources. Regular feedings counteract these processes.
Feedings are imitated
With each feeding the risk of imitation and thus, also, the risk that food stuffs that are dangerous for the Bearded Vulture increases.
Legal situation: According to Art. 22 of the regulation on the disposal of animal by-products (SR 916.441.22) laying out of animal carcasses and animal waste is prohibited and punishable.