An endangered African vulture chick has hatched at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park.

The African white backed vulture hatched out last month after a 58-day incubation.

Baby vulture in its nest at Longleat PIC Ian TurnerThe chick is the third to have been reared successfully at Longleat in recent years but it’s a first for this pair of birds.

Longleat’s Mark Tye said: “Vultures worldwide are increasingly under threat from a wide range of factors including human persecution, poisoning, loss of habitat and electrocution as a result of hitting power cables.

“More than half of the planet’s 24 species are now officially threatened or endangered, so for us to be successfully breeding these birds in captivity here at Longleat is great news.

Vulture parents with baby chick at Longleat PIC Ian Turner“The previous two chicks were born during the winter so for this particular egg to hatch out in May has made it much easier for the parents to look after without any need for us to intervene.

“At this stage we don’t want to disturb the birds any more than is absolutely necessary so we are keeping our distance and can’t tell for sure whether the new chick is male or female – but he or she is doing really well,” he added.

As its name suggests the African white backed vulture is found throughout the continent and is both its most widespread and populous vulture.

Like other vultures it is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of animals which it finds by soaring over savannah.

It also takes scraps from human habitations. It often moves in flocks and breeds in trees on the savannah of west and east Africa, laying a single egg.

As it is rarer than previously believed, its conservation status was reassessed from Least Concern to Near Threatened in the 2007 IUCN Red List.

In 2012 it was further upgraded to ‘Endangered’ which means a species of organisms facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.


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