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Detroit Zoo Vultures Return to Africa for Conservation

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: November 19, 2021 1:59 am

Vulture Release Detroit

One of the vultures following its arrival in Africa at the VulPro facility

Photo Credit: Detroit Zoo

Detroit Zoo have returned five vultures to Africa as part of conservation programs to restore vulture populations in South Africa.

Five captive born vultures of two species were repatriated to Africa. One lappet-faced vulture, Kassie and four hooded vultures known as Mrs. Nasty, Nelly, Fiona and Zeke made the move to South Africa.

Here they will be living at VulPro, a nonprofit conservation organization based in South Africa. These individuals will live in with other vultures and hopefully produce chicks which may be able to return to the wild.

VulPro have a decade of experience in working with injured and non-releasable vultures which are able to bolster wild populations. They have facilitated the release of 40 captive-born vultures.

“Nestling vultures stay with their parents at VulPro until they have successfully fledged and are able to feed on a carcass on their own. Then, they move to a large enclosure with other juveniles and wild-born rehabilitated vultures for a month,” says Kerri Wolter, founder of VulPro. “When they’re strong enough to forage and move widely, they’re released to the wild,” added Wolter.

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“This is monumental as it will be the first time that African vultures are returning to their native continent from North America,” said Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter.

“We are excited to work with VulPro on this groundbreaking initiative and help to restore these endangered species. We will be sharing updates from VulPro on Kassie, Mrs. Nasty, Nelly, Fiona and Zeke, and look forward to someday showing the release of their offspring in the wild in South Africa,” said Carter.

It has been two years of planning to get the vultures to South Africa with a range of delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vultures are among the world's most misunderstood and underappreciated birds in the wild. They are important in the world's ecosystems as they help to remove carrion from their environment.

Recent years have seen vulture populations declining across the globe. The Lappet-faced vulture is listed as endangered and the hooded vulture is listed as critically endangered making this program even more important.

Learn more about Lappet-Faced Vulture here – Lappet-Faced Vulture Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Detroit Zoo on their website – Detroit Zoo

Vulture Release Detroit

Two of the vultures prior to their return to Africa at the Detroit Zoo

Photo Credit: Detroit Zoo

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