6 June 2024

Thailand’s Nakhon Ratchasima zoo has successfully hatched the first giant vulture chick in captivity since the critically rare bird vanished from the wild in the country about 30 years ago. It is the world’s second chick to hatch in captivity.

Atthaporn Srihayrun, director of the Zoological Park Organisation, said this morning (Monday) that the chick successfully hatched on March 8th, after about 50 days in an incubator, and is now about one-month old.

The other egg is being hatched by its mother, Nui, at the zoo.

Thanachon Kensingh, director of Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo, said that the chick is now under the care of veterinarians and will be with them for about six months before it can begin to fly.

On February 14th last year, a pair of the giant vultures, named Pok and Ming, were released from a zoo into a huge cage in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in Uthai Thani province, hoping that they would breed naturally to increase the population in the wild.

There used to be five vulture species in Thailand, including two migratory species, the brown and black Himalayan vultures, but the last one vanished from the wild in Thailand as many were poisoned by humans. Currently, there are only six left at the zoo in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Two of the vultures, Nui and Jack, mated and one egg was laid in 2020, but the egg was not viable. The two mated again and two eggs were laid on January 17th. One of them was placed in an incubator and it successfully hatched on March 8th.

Currently, giant vultures only exist in captivity in Thailand and Italy. About 9,000 vultures of various species are believed to exist in nature worldwide today.