Rare bone-crunching vulture which had visitors flocking to Peak District 'leaves for good'

A rare bone-crunching vulture spotted in the Peak District has left these shores for good, it is believed.
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Vigo the bearded bulture had birdspotters flocking to Derbyshire after being seen soaring above the national park in July, and was subsequently seen circling elsewhere in the country.

It is believed to be only the second time a ‘lammergier’ – which feeds almost exclusively on bones and has a 2.7 metre wingspan – has ever been recorded in the UK.

Vigo the bearded vulture in flight over the Peak District National Park (Photo by Austin Morley)Vigo the bearded vulture in flight over the Peak District National Park (Photo by Austin Morley)
Vigo the bearded vulture in flight over the Peak District National Park (Photo by Austin Morley)
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But all good things must come to an end and it appears the majestic creature has departed the country for good.

Tim Birch, of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, tweeted: “Vigo our incredible #BeardedVulture has finally left our shores. The French Alps where she was born is calling her home. She was seen over the sea this afternoon (Thursday, October 15).

“What a fantastic ambassador for the Natural World she has been. Amazing memories in the Peaks. Bon Voyage. Stay safe.”

Mr Birch said the bird had made quite an impression during its relatively brief stay.

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“(I have) very mixed feelings as Vigo has many hazards and dangers ahead of her. But I'm truly heartened by the thousands of people who've connected to this incredible bird and are wishing it well. A visit to Pyrenees to see #BeardedVulture is a definite when possible!” he added.

There was much speculation about Vigo’s origin before the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) provided the answers by analysing some feathers collected in the Peak District, which showed she came from the French Alps and had hatched last year in a wild nest.

The VCF said there were now more than 60 breeding pairs of the species, which had been hunted and poisoned to the brink of extinction, following a long-running re-wilding project which it described as ‘one of the greatest wildlife comeback stories of our times’.

Mr Birch described Vigo’s appearance as a ‘once in a lifetime chance’ to see the magnificent bird, which he said had brought a ‘lot of joy’ to those lucky enough to catch a glimpse.

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“It has given everyone a glimpse of what a wilder future could look like if we help nature’s recovery where more amazing wildlife can be seen by more people particularly in our National Parks,” he added.