The big family of Zoo Miami just got bigger after a cinereous vulture hatched. The moment occurred on 12th of April and the zoo made the big announcement on Facebook. It is only the second time in the zoo’s history when a cinereous vulture is hatching.
The little one’s parents are Valentino – father – hatched at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in California, 12 years ago, and Tessa – mother – hatched at the Buffalo Zoo in 2010. Despite their age, this one is the couple’s only second (surviving) chick.
It took nearly a couple of weeks until the staff at the zoo was able to get closer to the baby. Shortly after hatching, the mother vulture got so overprotective with her new born, no one could got close to the nest. The incubation last 50 days.
The cinereous vultures are the largest of the Old World vultures. Females, which grow larger than males can weigh up to 20 pounds. They wingspan can reach over 9 feet. The species can be found in various areas in Europe, Middle East and Asia. The cinereous vultures have some special cells in their blood that allows them to reach extremely high altitudes. Some reports indicate these predators have been observed on Everest, searching for prey at over 20,000 feet.
Over the last century, the cinereous vultures population have been dramatically reduced as a result of habitat loss. In some parts of the world, they completely disappeared. The species is considered ‘near threatened’ and Zoo Miami as part of a program – the Species Survival Plan of the Association of zoos and aquariums – meant to conserve the species.