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The baby vulture from Tuzha is well and will be prepared for living into the wild

The baby vulture from Tuzha is well and will be prepared for living into the wild

11.05.2017
The baby vulture from Tuzha is well and will be prepared for living into the wild. We would like to remind you the interesting faith of the baby bird, which hatched in the incubators of the Wildlife Rescue Centre. Its parents – young and extremely inexperienced birds, had laid on the ground, near a pathway used by people and cattle. This nest surprised the entire team of the Vultures Back to LIFE14 NAT/BG/649 project, as Griffon Vultures do not nest on the ground but on inaccessible high cliffs. The egg laid on the ground was too vulnerable as the female had to leave it very often, disturbed by people, while the chick would have most probably died, stamped by cattle or eaten by the shepherd dogs, foxes or jackals. This is why our team had to make a very tough decision, after coordination with the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Waters – Stara Zagora. In order to rescue the egg, on 13.03.2017 the egg was taken and transported to the incubator premises of the Wildlife Rescue Centre in Stara Zagora. Here it was weighted, measured and examined with an ovoscope. At an even greater surprise, it turned out fertile and developing well, so on 24.04.2017 a very vital chick hatched.

The hatching of the egg, despite being a small victory for the team of the Centre, faced us with a serious challenge. The problem is that birds of prey, kept by people, get imprinted, perceiving the people who look after them as their real parents and thinking they are themselves… people. These birds can never live into the wild or get interested in mates from their own species so they would never have normal offspring. Released, they would look for people and become an easy target. This is why the team of the Vultures Back to LIFE project and the Rescue Centre had to prevent taming the bird, making it socially disabled and useless for the preservation of its species into the wild.

We had the following options:
  • To place the chick into the nest of wild Griffon Vultures, whose egg has not hatched, yet the parents would have the experience and instinct to raise the foster chick;
  • To place the chick with the male Griffon kept at the Rescue Centre, who has already successfully raised a chick before;
  • To place the chick with the pair of Black Vultures at the Rescue Centre;
  • To rear the chick without direct contact until it is old enough to move it to an adaptation aviary with other vultures;
  • To fully imprint the chick and use it for education.All these possibilities were thoroughly discussed with experts from UK, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, Israel, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
Unfortunately, the easily accessible nests of wild Griffons all have chicks this year so the placing of an extra chick would jeopardize the survival of the own chick, without any warranties for the chick from Tuzha. Fostering by the Black Vulture pair would imprint the baby onto a completely different species, while our birds are young and inexperienced and it was not certain that they would accept and adopt the baby. Our greatest hope – the male Griffon, unfortunately showed no interest in the chick, despite the fact that we had offered him a dummy egg to awake his paternal instincts.
We were left with no other choice but join our efforts not to tame the bird. This is why the experts of the Centre would feed the chick behind a special curtain so it does not see people. A mirror will be placed so it only sees its own reflection and therefore gets used to its own species. we have also provided it with a realistic vulture dummy for it to see. This is how we hope that the bird would not get used to people and moved to an aviary with other vultures would later learn to be a real vulture. The fact that the chick is very vital and eagerly eats on its own gives us great hopes!

For more information, please contact:
Elena Stoeva – project manager LIFE14 NAT/BG/649, e-mail: etilova@greenbalkans.org, phone: + 359 887574699
for the actions at the Rescue Centre – Dr. Hristina Klisurova, е-mail: hhristova@greenbalkans.org, phone: + 359 0886570053