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Black Vulture Rescued

18 May 2020

What was going to be a relaxing boat ride around the Rock for Clayton Busto and his young son Jake, turned out to be an unexpectedly exciting day with the successful rescue of a young Cinereous (also known as Black) Vulture, which they found in the sea a few hundred metres just off Europa Advance Road.

As they cruised towards Europa Point, Jake noticed something floating on the surface of the sea attracting a number of gulls around it. At first they thought it could just be some flotsam or a shoal of fish on the surface and on deciding to investigate they noticed the bird bobbing in and out of the water looking extremely weak and distressed.

Mr Busto contacted the Environmental Protection Rescue Unit of the Department of the Environment, Sustainability, Climate Change and Heritage (DESCCH) and on their advice used a landing net to retrieve the bird and bring it on board his vessel, much to the amazement of young Jake who had never seen such a large bird up close.

He then arranged to meet up with Environment Officers handing the bird over to them. Vincent Robba, Head of the GONHS Raptor Rescue Unit was called and it was taken away for some much needed care and rehabilitation.

The Cinereous Vulture or Black Vulture is one of the heaviest and largest raptors in the world. Thanks to many different conservation projects the numbers are now slowly increasing, especially in Spain, where the population is now at more than 2,000 pairs. They nests in trees and sometimes on cliffs.

“Jake” as the Black Vulture has now been named in honour of its young rescuer spent a few days at the centre being fed and looked after, as due to its ordeal it was underweight and in a weakened state.

On the 14th May and after making a full recovery “Jake” was successfully released from the top of the Rock but not before a quick meet up and farewell with his rescuers.


Black Vulture

Black Vulture

Black Vulture

Black Vulture

Photos by Shane Shacaluga (GONHS)

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