Injured Egyptian Vulture rescued in cross-border effort

Egyptian Vulture

In a covert nighttime international operation, an injured and endangered Egyptian Vulture was brought across the border from Jordan to receive treatment and rehabilitation. The bird was injured just two weeks after being released into the wild in Israel. The exceptional operation succeeded due to the cooperation between SPNI, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Jordanian authorities and the German Hanns Seidel Foundation.

In the covert nighttime operation, an Israeli tagged Egyptian Vulture was transferred to Israel from Jordan after being discovered in a Jordanian nature reserve. The vulture was found injured, most likely due to colliding with an electrical line. The poor fellow was emaciated and in poor condition, . just two weeks after being released from the Hai-Bar Carmel breeding site of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority- the only successful breeding center in the world for Egyptian Vultures.

The operation, which was made possible by cooperation between Israel, Jordan and the Hanns Seidel Foundation was completed in the early hours of Saturday morning as Noam Weiss of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel transferred the wounded vulture from Jordan to the animal hospital at the Safari Park in Ramat Gan.

The Egyptian Vulture has become revered in Europe, Asia and in Africa after its world population has drastically reduced and is worsening as a result of threats by poisoning, hunting and electrocution. The species is now in danger of complete extinction. 

Details of the Operation to save the Vulture

When a concerned Jordanian citizen noticed the wounded vulture in a nature reserve close to the Dead Sea, they contacted the Jordanian authorities. After it was determined that the vulture was in fact an "Israeli citizen" (he hatched in Israel in the Spring of 2012), they reached out to our very own Israel Ornithological Center. 

As soon as we received the news, we immediately began preparing to bring the vulture home for some rest and rehabilitation. Noam Weiss who is our coordinator for shared bio-pest control projects with Jordanians, was chosen for the mission.  He started the process and involved the German Han Seidel Foundation, who is instrumental in supporting our long-running bio-pest control project. 

Securing the transfer of an animal- let alone an endangered species is a bureaucratic nightmare with an endless amount of forms and official permissions that must be secured from both the Israeli and Jordanian governments. Since we were worried that the vulture could have been in very bad shape- perhaps even dying- we spared no effort in cutting through all of the red tape as fast as possible.

By 3:00 am last Friday, Weiss was in a car headed south to Eilat, where he crossed the border into Jordan and went quickly to the Dana Nature Reserve where the vulture was being held- three hours north of the border crossing at Aqaba. Within fifteen minutes of arriving, the vulture was with Weiss and headed back to Israel. The bird was weak, tired, dehydrated and had a low body temperature, however he was in much better condition than what Weiss had anticipated. In order to bring up his body temperature,Weiss kept him wrapped in blankets and made his way quickly and carefully to the border. 

With great gratitude to all parties involved, the vulture was transferred without unnecessary delay. Unfortunately, the team missed the last flight back to Tel Aviv, despite Arkia airline's best efforts to wait for the team. As a result, Weiss together with the Vulture drove five hours to the Animal Hospital at the Ramat Gan Safari, where Doctor Shmulik Landau was waiting for them. 

In the end, it was discovered that the vulture had suffered a broken wing and couldn't stand on his legs due to his severe dehydration. Just as Israel is known for its outstanding medical care, this one year old Egyptian Vulture will too receive the utmost of love and medical treatment as he spends the next few weeks recuperating at the Ramat Gan Safari Animal Hospital. 

We wish this Egyptian Vulture the best of health and hope to see him flying the skies soon!