Universum Outlook for raptors
Few other birds hold as much fascination for us humans as do birds of prey. In almost all cultures they are the incarnation of courage and strength. And still, man has brought many species of raptors very close to the brink of extinction. Since times immemorial, eagles and vultures have been hunted in the Alps. “Predators must be controlled", was the martial credo of the assembled huntsmen.
The bearded vulture, Europe's largest bird, was doomed by its evil repute: it was suspected of attacking young lambs and calves and even abducting small children. Actually, the bearded vulture is a scavenger that chiefly feeds on the bones of carrion. But the truth was to no avail: the "golden" vulture was shot and poisoned until the last of its kind in the European Alps was killed in 1886. Exactly a hundred years later, the WWF launched a campaign to reintroduce the bearded vulture in the Alps, and today more than a hundred of the glorious birds rule over the airspace of western Austria and the adjoining Alpine countries.
For this documentary, Helmut Pechlaner visited projects in Austria and overseas that are designed to ensure the survival of raptors in their native habitats.