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  • A critically endangered vulture species, Ruppell’s vulture is raising its chick in Nyíregyháza for the first time in the country.
    2016. 05. 04.

     A critically endangered vulture species, Ruppell’s vulture is raising its chick in Nyíregyháza for the first time in the country.

    The breeding pair came to Sóstó Zoo 20 years ago. For a long time, they did not show any interest in each other, but this January they made a nest. The chick who hatched from the only one egg after 55 days is already 7 weeks old. The parents defend their offspring so desperately that it was better not to approach them up to now.

    The species is called champions of the sky because besides the usual flying altitude at 6000 meters, they were detected even at 11000 meters.

    This ability is based on the special type of haemoglobin in their blood which bonds to oxygen more strongly and so ensures the necessary amount of oxygen even at low atmospheric pressure.

    The magnificent animals having a wingspan of 220-240 centimetres belong to the group of middle size vultures.

    Living in the tropical region of Africa, these birds feed exclusively on larger animals’ carcasses and so their everyday life depends on the migrating route of hoofed animals. They can forage for food even in a distance of 150 kilometres during one day.

    Their skill to find carcasses and to gather in huge numbers in a short time was the base of the assumption that vultures have an extremely good sense of smell. In some cultures, they were endowed with telepathic power. In fact, Old World vultures use their eyesight to find food. If one spots a carrion, it starts to circulate above it and flies lower and lower what the others will notice and follow. When flocked in huge numbers, they can clean a large animal’s carcass in twenty minutes by eating first the pluck, than the meat, skin and finally the smaller bones.

    The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) listed the species as threatened for the first time in 2007. Between 2012-2014, it was categorized as endangered. Since their population is constantly declining due to habitat loss, illegal trade and deaths caused by poisoned food, they have been listed as critically endangered since 2015.