Last week, the GONHS Raptor Rescue Unit released a wild Griffon Vulture that had been brought down by Yellow-legged Gulls on the 5th June. The bird had landed on a cliff in the South District and was being mobbed by gulls.
It was exhausted after making the tiring crossing of the Strait, and in distress. GONHS rescued the bird after managing to gain access to the difficult area where it had fallen. This was achieved thanks to the assistance of the neighbours of the adjacent estate. After a couple of weeks of rest and rehabilitation at the GONHS raptor rescue centre under the care of the Vincent Robba and his team, the Griffon Vulture was successfully released and flew north into Spain.
This is a time of year when immature Griffon Vultures return to Europe from Africa. The vultures are ill-suited to crossing expanses of water, even those as narrow as the Strait. One of the main hazards when they arrive in Gibraltar are the Yellow-legged Gull, which attack larger raptors during their nesting season, especially once the gulls’ chicks have hatched.
Vulture frequently land and rest around the Rock during this period, particularly on cliff faces or buildings. On most occasions they will fly off again and continue their journey north towards Spain safely. However, some require rescuing.
If you see a vulture at rest in Gibraltar, do not approach or disturb it. If you are concerned about its welfare, please contact the GONHS Raptor Rescue Unit.
GONHS is very grateful to Ms Isobel Ellul, who initially reported the vulture, as well as all other neighbours who assisted in its rescue.