LIFE Project Cover Photo

Restoration of connections between the Alpine and Pyrenean populations of bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)

Reference: LIFE14 NAT/FR/000050 | Acronym: LIFE GYPCONNECT



The conservation status of the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) is listed as vulnerable on the European IUCN Red List and endangered in France. Before vulture reintroductions started, the Alps represented a huge barrier separating the Pyreneo-Iberian populations and those of the Balkans. To bridge the distance between the populations of the western Alps and the Oriental Pyrenees, it is essential to establish a new core population of bearded vultures and to favour an exchange of populations with a view to forming a true European meta-population.


The LIFE GYPCONNECT project aims to develop new vulture populations in the Department of the Drôme and the Massif Central, thus creating a connection between the two existing populations, currently confined to the Alps and the Pyrenees.

The project’s main objectives are to:

  • Strengthen the population of bearded vultures by creating core populations in the Drôme and the Massif Central; and
  • Facilitate bird movements between the Alps and the Pyrenees and thus enhance exchanges and genetic diversity of bearded vulture populations.
  • The project team comprises raptor conservation experts, managers of the electricity grid networks and sociologists. Specifically, the team plans to: 1. Coordinate a captive breeding programme and to reintroduce vultures on specific sites; 2. Enhance the availability of food resources; 3. Reduce existing threats; 4. Draw up a communication plan to increase the public’s awareness and to spread results; and 5. Regularly assess the impact of the project and to develop a strategic implementation plan.

    Expected results: 1. Establish new core populations by: a. Setting up several sites (2-3 new ones) where captive vultures can be released; b. Releasing up to four vultures per year throughout the project’s lifetime; c. Having at least two couples established in the area by the end of the project; and d. Enhancing the exchange of birds between different core populations in the Alps and the Pyrenees from the second year of the project onwards.

    2. Enhanced available food resources by setting up different feeding places.

    3. Improve peacefulness and security of vulture sites by: a. Isolating the sections of the electric network considered to be dangerous for the birds; b. Mapping favourable vulture areas and integrating these in the relevant SRCAE (Energy, Air and Climate Regional Scheme); c. Managing poison threats; d. Testing lead-free ammunition; e. Taking care of unhealthy birds through a safeguard network; f. Reducing sources of disturbance by enhancing awareness actions; and g. Securing vulture releasing sites.

    4. Improved knowledge and the monitoring of the reintroduction programme by: a. Analysing demographic and spacial data; b. Modelling population dynamics; c. Producing indicators and a technical guide to monitor the populations; and d. Producing at least one scientific publication.


    Reference: LIFE14 NAT/FR/000050
    Start Date: 01/09/2015
    End Date: 31/07/2022
    Total Budget: 5,631,742 €
    EU Contribution: 4,157,440 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux
    Legal Status: PNC
    Address: Fonderies Royales 08 rue du docteur Pujos, 17305, ROCHEFORT SUR MER, France
    Contact Person: Orabi PASCAL
    Tel: 33546821234

    LIFE Project Map



    • Birds


    • animal corridor
    • carcass disposal
    • controlled hunting zone
    • hunting


    • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020” (03.05.2011)
    • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)


    • 0 - Non applicable (i.e.species project)


    • Gypaetus barbatus


    Type Code Name
    SPA FR8210017 Hauts plateaux du Vercors
    SPA FR8210114 Basse Ardèche
    SPA FR9110033 Les Cévennes
    SPA FR9110105 Gorges du Tarn et de la Jonte
    SPA FR9110111 Basses Corbières
    SCI FR7301822 Garonne, Ariège, Hers, Salat, Pique et Neste
    SCI FR9101444 Les Causses du Minervois
    SCI FR8201654 Basse Ardèche urgonienne
    SCI FR8201744 Hauts plateaux et contreforts du Vercors oriental
    SCI FR9101385 Causse du Larzac
    SCI FR9101399 La Cèze et ses gorges
    SCI FR9101424 Le Caroux et l'Espinouse
    SCI FR9101489 Vallée de l'Orbieu
    SPA FR7312008 Gorges de la Frau et Bélesta
    SPA FR7312007 Gorges de la Dourbie et causses avoisinants
    SPA FR7312006 Gorges du Tarn et de la Jonte
    SPA FR9112002 Le Salagou
    SPA FR9112003 Minervois
    SPA FR9112004 Hautes Garrigues du Montpelliérais
    SPA FR9112008 Corbières orientales
    SPA FR9112009 Pays de Sault
    SPA FR9112027 Corbières occidentales
    SPA FR9112011 Gorges de la Vis et cirque de Navacelles
    SPA FR9112012 Gorges de Rieutord, Fage et Cagnasse
    SPA FR9112019 Montagne de l'Espinouse et du Caroux
    SPA FR9112028 Hautes Corbières
    SCI FR9102007 Mines de Villeneuvette
    SPA FR9112033 Garrigues de Lussan
    SPA FR9112014 Causse noir
    SPA FR9112032 Causse du Larzac
    SCI FR9101458 Vallée du Torgan


    Name Type
    Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO), France Coordinator
    AC Sorbonne Université (SU), France Participant
    Parc national des Cévennes (PNC), France Participant
    Stichting The Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF), Netherlands Participant
    ENEDIS, France Participant
    Association Vautours en Baronnies (VEB), France Participant
    Syndicat Mixte du Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors (SM-PNRV), France Participant
    Centre National d'Informations Toxicologiques Vétérinaires (CNITV), France Participant
    Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux d'Occitanie (LPO OCCIT.), France Participant