Ready for the Santa, Elves & Sleigh Bells Christmas event!
Back in July this year, the Hawk Conservancy Trust donated an African White-backed Vulture named Zulu to the centre.
Two year old Zulu is hugely popular with staff due to his gentle nature. He can be seen running after staff and trying to help them clean his enclosure which he shares with Alfie the Turkey Vulture, and two new residents, the Von Der Decken’s Hornbills named Bill and Vonda.
Zulu was also very popular with Emmerdale actor Cain Dingle (played by Jeff Hordley) who was the first member of the public to hold Zulu (pictured) when visiting the centre with his family this summer.
Zulu has since been trained to star in the centre’s Animal and Bird Shows, taking place at 12:30pm and 14:45pm daily, including during the Santa, Elves & Sleigh Bells Christmas event shows. The centre expects the shows to be very popular as they are one of only a few centres in the UK which has an endangered Vulture in their shows, and they are an amazing and rare sight.
The African White-backed Vulture species has undergone a rapid decline in the wild owing to habitat loss and conversion to agro-pastoral systems, declines in wild ungulate populations, hunting for trade, persecution, collisions and poisoning. This decline has a devastating effect; diseases such as rabies and bubonic plague, for which dogs and rats respectively are the primary reservoirs, may increase as a consequence of vulture declines. Wildlife and livestock could also be at increased risk from dog and ratborne pathogens. In India, rising cases of human anthrax due to handling infected carcasses or consuming poorly cooked meat of infected livestock are believed to be linked to the precipitous decline of vultures.
Zulu is an ambassador for the International Vulture Programme run by the Hawk Conservancy Trust and supported by a growing international partnership of supporters. This programme supports and operates a range of programmes in southern Africa and South Asia. The conservation and research work of these programmes covers six vulture species, including the African White-backed Vulture.
Click here to see the fundraising page for information on money raised for the IVP.