Griffon Vulture Saved by Mama Drone

griffon vulture on ledge waiting for a meal

An endangered Griffon vulture chick was saved from certain death thanks to you. Together SPNI and the IDF delivered food to the chick using a stealth drone. After several weeks of food drops the vulture has reached adulthood.

Without these regularly deliveries the chick would have faced certain starvation. The chick's mother was killed when it collided with an overhead powerline. In these situations, a single parent has next to no chance to raise a youngster by itself.

The chick’s nest is monitored as part of our Raptor Nest Cam project. Researchers knew they had to do something once they noticed the mother's absence. Normally a climber will rescue the chick so it can be raised in captivity. Although this risks harming the vulture's development.

Consulting with our partners we came up with a different solution, one never tried before. Every 2-3 days for two months an IDF stealth drone dropped raw meat on the ledge for the vulture. To practice the IDF built a model of the cliff face for the pilot to practice on!

Amazingly these efforts paid off. To our delight the cameras recorded the vulture's first ever flight at the end of July. The father will now teach his chick how to scavenge for food in the wild. This chick joins over 200 griffon vultures in Israel, a species saved from the brink of extinction thanks to you.