Friday 6 April 2007


Rare sighting of vulture in park - The vulture could be one which escaped from a zoo in Staffordshire. There has been a sighting of a vulture in a London park, according to the Royal Parks Agency (RPA). Bird watchers who have seen the bird in Richmond Park, south-west London, have identified it as the endangered Indian white-backed vulture. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said the bird could be a vulture named 'Bones' that escaped from a Staffordshire zoo in August. The RPA said it was not native, so had probably been released or escaped. A RPA spokeswoman Louise Wood said: "We don't believe it is roosting or feeding in Richmond Park, but it has been sighted in the vicinity." But, she added it had not been seen since Saturday. Cath Harris of the RSPB said: "Vultures can fly fairly large distances, and Britain is a fairly small country, so it's possible there are no more than two". She emphasised that vultures do not pose any threat to local wildlife, and that they would most likely feed on a diet of road kill. "They're scavengers - they don't kill," she said. A vulture was spotted in Snowdonia six weeks ago but RSPB conservationists said they did not think this was the same bird.
November 2006

Mystery over UK vulture sightings It has got birdwatchers scratching their heads - why are vultures gathering over Britain? An increasingly large wake of vultures is gathering over southern Britain, it was reported today. A listener to BBC Radio Five Live's Drive programme yesterday reported that birdwatchers had seen an Indian white-backed vulture in Richmond Park. It is thought that the sighting could be of Bones, a vulture which escaped from a Staffordshire zoo in August. The vulture could have been in the park for the past few weeks as there were reports of a sighting of the bird ten days ago. A vulture was also seen over the Beddington sewage farm, near Croydon. But it was reported that the sightings are not just confined to London. Vultures have also been seen in Norfolk, Snowdonia and Bodmin Moor over the past six months. An RSPB spokesman said: 'I suspect these are all sightings of the same vulture which has escaped from captivity. 'There is speculation that vultures from Europe could soon make their way to Britain but I haven't heard of this happening yet.'
March 2007

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