A stray cinereous vulture, rehabilitated for 5 years in Tamil Nadu, was airlifted to Machia Biological Park in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur on Thursday afternoon and will be released into the park for rewilding after a few days of a precautionary quarantine, officials said.
IAS officer Supriya Sahu shared the incredible story of the migratory vulture with photos on Twitter. “Sharing the heartwarming real-life story of a beautiful vulture “Okhi” & his incredible journey from Tamil Nadu to Rajasthan.”Okhi” a migratory cinereous vulture was injured in Ockhi Cyclone in 2017 & could not fly back. Our Okhi flew Air India early morning today for rewilding,” Sahu wrote on Twitter.
Story of Okhi
‘Ockhi’, a cinereous vulture, was airlifted back to the wild and rejoin his flock at a biological park in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur on Thursday. Rescued during Cyclone Ockhi in December 2017, the bird was rehabilitated by Tamil Nadu forestry officials in Kanyakumari until its airlift.
According to officials, it was initially decided to take the bird to Machia Biological Park, 2,300 km away by road, but considering the fact that this long journey could have an adverse effect on the bird’s health, it was airlifted from Chennai. and taken to Jodhpur. for an Air India flight.
“In Rajasthan, there are several cattle carcass dumps that are home to large populations of vultures. One such site is the “Keru” cattle carcass dump 20 km from Jodhpur city. The Keru site is ideal for the release of the captive vulture, not only because of the presence of other black vultures, but also because of the immediate availability of food. After acclimatization, Ockhi can be deployed with the transmitter and released at the Keru site,” a Tamil Nadu forest official said.
Since the bird will have to travel around 2,600 km from Kanyakumari, it was decided to transport it by air and permission was obtained from the Ministry of Civil Aviation to take the vulture on a special flight, for the first time in the country.
With the necessary clearance and logistical support from Air India staff at Chennai, New Delhi and Jodhpur airports, the vulture was eventually transported in a special cage designed with adequate ventilation and space as per IATA live animal regulations.
Vultures of this species originally arrive in India in the month of October through Uzbekistan, Mongolia Portugal, and France. It is the heaviest flying vulture among its peers. The female vulture of this species weighs between seven and 14 kg. While the maximum weight of the mail is 11.5 kg. The length is from 98 to 120 centimetres.
Their wingspan is up to three meters and they are usually seen between 2,600 and 12,500 feet in mountainous areas. They were even seen at 14,800 feet on the plains and one was seen at 22,870 feet on Mount Everest. Its maximum age is 35 years. When it is winter in Europe, it usually spends its breeding season in Manchuria, Mongolia and Korea. Its habitat is a hilly and mountainous region with forests.
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