Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo official Prasert Chanklang said today (May 17) that vultures have disappeared from the wild in Thailand due to changing geographic conditions becoming unfavourable for them. Use of pesticides and chemicals on farmland also drove them away.
Now, the species is to be seen only in zoos. Nakhon Ratchasima zoo has seven vultures - three males and four females, he said.
The zoo is trying to breed the large birds, with three pairs. One pair was seen building a nest, good news meaning that the birds were preparing to mate. Zoo staff were closely monitoring their behaviour. If the pair do mate and lay eggs it would be the first time the rare birds have been successfully bred in Thailand.
If the breeding programme is successful, the vultures will eventually be released into their natural habitat, Mr Prasert said.
Male vultures have black body plumage and females white, with red necks and feet. They take three years to mature, when they stand about 150 centimetres tall and weigh 3.7 to 5.4 kilograms, he said.
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