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Mumbai’s Birdman saves rare white-rumped vulture

Mumbai’s Birdman saves rare white-rumped vulture
Highlights

A rare and highlyendangered gigantic whiterumped vulture, figuring on the IUCN Red List and found in a neardead condition, has been saved by a Mumbai family and is now ready to take wings After eight months of love and care, the strong and highlyaggressive bird sporting a deadly beak, standing nearly three feet tall with a wingspan of around nine feet will soar high in the sky from Oct

A rare and highly-endangered gigantic white-rumped vulture, figuring on the IUCN Red List and found in a near-dead condition, has been saved by a Mumbai family and is now ready to take wings. After eight months of love and care, the strong and highly-aggressive bird -- sporting a deadly beak, standing nearly three feet tall with a wing-span of around nine feet -- will soar high in the sky from October 10.

“On Tuesday, (October 9), we shall take this beautiful bird to the St. John Church in Ballard Estate for a special blessing ceremony by the priest, Fr Joe D'Souza. The next day, we shall release it in the thick forests of Nashik,” its rescuer, Pradeep D'Souza, said.

After the church ceremony, a team of Forest Department officials and a vet will examine the bird, issue a medical fitness certificate and then allow it to be released back to nature, he said, adding it figures on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of critically-endangered species.

Known as ‘Mumbai's Birdman’ in nature circles, D'Souza, 42, and his family toiled virtually day and night to ensure the vulture was up on its wings and fit to answer the call of the wild.

In fact, many NGOs and animal care groups failed to heed D'Souza's SOS calls, saying “it's impossible to find such a rare and highly endangered vulture in a concrete jungle like Mumbai”.

Finally, he rushed to the spot, barely six kilometres from his home, picked it up and brought it to his own make-shift ‘nursing home’ for treatment, along with a large number of other feathered patients on the terrace of the 100-year old Queens Mansion building, in the heart of the Fort area.

They administered the vulture some injections, a lot of fresh coconut water to remove the toxicity, regular antibiotic doses with water and fed tiny pieces of red meat for the bird to gain strength. Now, it is completely hale and hearty, a happy D'Souza explained as his mother, brother, sister-in-law and niece smiled with joy.

By Quaid Najmi

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