Claudia Roth is a fan of Wally and Bavaria

Ramsau – The Vice President of the Bundestag Claudia Roth was a guest in Berchtesgadener Land. Together with local politicians from the Greens and interested parties, she found out about the bearded vulture project in the national park in Klausbachtal.

Wally and Bavaria, Toni or Claudia? After the walk in the Berchtesgaden National Park, many of the 30 or so interested hikers did not know who impressed them more: the exciting Bearded Vulture project or the nature of Claudia Roth, Vice President of the Bundestag. What is certain is that the tour “Visit to the Geier-Wally” organized by the green local association Berchtesgadener Tal was an experience that will be remembered for everyone.

Claudia Roth likes to come to Berchtesgadener Land. She has been on friendly terms with the BGL district association for many years and supports the local candidates in the election campaign. She also likes to do this in the hot phase of the federal election campaign for the domestic direct candidate Wolfgang Ehrenlechner, as she emphasized. She thanked her for the invitation to the Klausbachtal, which was a completely new world for her: “It’s great that you’ve come up with something so special, I’m so excited about the birds,” she said. The visit of the Bavarian top candidate was possible because Claudia Roth and Robert Habeck had an event in Rosenheim’s Mangfall Park.

After a brief greeting by Bartl Wimmer, the spokesman for the green district parliamentary group, and Iris Edenhofer, the spokeswoman for the Berchtesgadener Tal branch, Toni Wegscheider had the floor. The biologist and chairman of the LBV district group Berchtesgadener Land is the bearded vulture expert. The project with Wally and Bavaria was his “baby,” as he said.

The two young birds were released at the beginning of June this year and have developed splendidly since then. The resettlement of the once native bearded vulture across the Alps is a unique example of international nature conservation. In a knowledgeable and rousing manner, Toni Wegscheider told of the ten-year project in which two bearded vultures are released into the national park every year. For the first three years, the financing is secured by the Free State of Bavaria, the LBV also has to contribute a decent amount, for the time after that the financing is still open. The expert explained that the last bearded vulture in the Berchtesgaden mountains, which is the largest bird of prey in Europe with a wingspan of almost three meters, was shot down 140 years ago and it has taken until now for some to be resettled here. In other European countries such resettlement projects have existed since the 1980s. About 300 bearded vultures currently live in the Alps.

Claudia Roth wanted to know whether the national park area was big enough for Wally and Bavaria. Not quite, said the expert, “their territory covers about 300 square kilometers, the national park has about 210 square kilometers.” Therefore, the two cousins ​​make trips far into Austria. Claudia Roth wanted to know whether the two would get along and how they would come to terms with the golden eagles who have their eyrie on the Hochkalter. At the moment it can be observed that the vulture ladies are very affectionate to each other, but soon they will “lose” each other and go hiking in the Alpine region. Toni Wegscheider reports that they would have had a good time with the pair of golden eagles. Thanks to GPS transmitters, the expert can follow the birds’ flight paths.

Like Claudia Roth, Wolfgang Ehrenlechner was also fascinated by the exciting nature conservation project. The local direct candidate wanted to know to what extent lead ammunition was a problem for the animals. If the vultures, which are scavengers, eat a wounded, dead animal, there is a risk of fatal lead poisoning, the biologist explained. The stomach acid in birds is so strong that it can break down bones – and lead too. For Toni Wegscheider it is therefore clear: “Anyone who still shoots with lead today is a potential murderer for Wally and Bavaria.” Fortunately, in the course of the bearded vulture reintroduction, the Bavarian government banned lead ammunition in all state forests. That gives him hope, said Toni Wegscheider, but it must be banned across Germany to close with lead ammunition. “Lead is toxic stuff that is used to shoot organic food!” Claudia Roth promised to inform her colleagues in the Bundestag who are responsible for this problem.

At the golden eagle information point, Bartl Wimmer was able to tell interesting facts about the history of the national park founded in 1978. The protected area had been controversial for a long time and was initially only supported by the SPD and the Greens. In the meantime, the only Alpine National Park in Germany has not only gained acceptance, but has also become a tourist magnet. Bartl Wimmer addressed the so-called process protection, which is also being sought for the national park, i.e. that humans do not interfere with the natural processes of ecosystems. Wolfgang Ehrenlechner motivated the group: “We have to sensitize people to the important issues of climate change and climate protection and inspire them with the positive example of the national park.”

Claudia Roth joined this appeal. She said that she had just returned from an international conference in Vienna on the dramatic effects of climate change on people around the world. “We don’t have ten years left, we have to act now,” said the Bavarian top candidate.

Toni Wegscheider still had a lot of interesting information ready, for example he explained where the “home base” of Wally and Bavaria is. It is a niche in the rock on the Knittelhorn, a summit of the Reiter Alm. This offers ideal conditions. With a webcam installed there, not only experts but interested parties can observe the imposing birds live and make discoveries. “The vulture still has secrets, that fascinates me,” said Toni Wegscheider. To conclude, Claudia Roth wanted to know what the vultures were doing at the moment, because she did not see them circling through the air that afternoon. “They are sitting somewhere in the shade and are resting from their big flight yesterday, political visit or not,” as the expert said with a smile. Karin Kleinert

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