Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Bearded Vulture

Pure Crete website, has funded thousands of leaflets in English to raise awareness and money to help to protect the Cretan Bearded Vulture. The Bearded Vulture, or Lammergeier, was once found in mountain regions across Europe, Asia and parts of Africa, but is now an endangered species and only survives in a few areas. One of these is Crete where 31 birds are left. The Bearded Vulture is the only bone-eating bird in the world - dropping bones from hundreds of feet to shatter them before descending to eat. `The bone breaker' has a wingspan of 2.8 metres and its narrow wings allow it to reach great altitudes to reign majestically and peacefully in the Cretan skies.

It has reddish yellow or white plumage on the head and breast with a grey black tail and wings. Its black forehead and beak forms the distinctive appearance of a beard.

The vulture reaches adulthood after 6 or 7 years, and lays two eggs between December and January, one of which will normally survive. Its natural lifespan is 40 years. The Lammergeier displays no predatory behaviour and has no natural predators but faces extinction due to man. Destruction of natural habitats, poisonous baits by shepherds, egg stealing by collectors, tourist disturbance and high voltage cables all take their toll.

That is why Pure Crete through the `Immediate Intervention for the Protection of Nature'* has acted to raise awareness and funds to protect the Bearded Vulture in Crete. We hope other companies will follow our lead.

* An EU charity working in partnership with the Greek government to intervene to protect endangered indigenous species.