Breeding pairs of the vulnerable scavenger now have access to a new facility costing almost half-a-million Swiss francs.
On Tuesday, the Goldau animal park in central Switzerland inaugurated a new facility for the vultures to replace the old one which had become unusable. Costing around CHF430,000 ($434,000) the enclosure is built of larch wood and has six different spaces in which pairs of bearded vultures can raise their young.
The current residents are Felix, a 36-year-old male, and Winnie, a 33-year-old female. The infrastructure protects the couple from view during the brooding period and protects the young from weasels.
The Goldau animal park has been the Swiss centre for the breeding of bearded vultures for some 20 years. The first successful hatching in captivity was in 2000. Since then, 16 young birds of prey have been raised there, almost all of which have been released into the Swiss Alps or abroad.
The largest bird in the Alps, the bearded vulture was exterminated in the 19th century and is a vulnerable species today.
Bearded vultures mate for life and usually raise one fledgling per year.