Patricia Rivas, a biologist with the Pro Dunas environmental association, was driving along the A-7 towards Estepona last Friday when she saw something very unexpected: a griffon vulture beside the road. The animal, a large adult, was perched on the barrier on the right-hand side of the motorway, showing obvious signs of exhaustion.
Once Patricia had informed her colleagues at Pro Dunas, they decided to try to rescue the vulture, although this was no easy task and they had to bring a towel and transporter to catch and carry it.
The rescue operation was carried out by Pro Dunas members, officers from the Guardia Civil Nature Protection service (Seprona) and an environmental officer from the Junta de Andalucía.
Luckily, they were successful and the vulture is now being cared for at the CREA (Centre for Recuperation of Endangered Species) in Malaga.
The vulture, who Pro Dunas has called 'Castor' after the place where it was found, near the river of the same name in Estepona, had no fractured bones but was suffering from extreme fatigue, says Susanne Stamm, the spokeswoman for the association.
She explains that the rescue operation was difficult because they didn't want the bird to try to fly off, as it would have been dangerous for drivers on the A-7 and for the vulture itself, which is thought to have been migrating to Africa.
"People need to know that vultures are lovely creatures. We are all a bit afraid of them, but they are beautiful and by rescuing this one we have helped with their preservation," says Suzanne, proudly.