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N. Sivasothi,
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Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Since 1998 with origins from OneList.

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Fri 27 Jan 2006

23 Jan 2006 - A Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis in Singapore

Category : nature

A Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis, was first sighted by Jon WK Cheah at reclaimed land in Changi on 23 Jan 2006. The birding and photography community were notified and as many as 10 cars were seen on the evening of 24 Jan 2006.

The bird appeared weak and was unable to fly more than about 50 metres. Ding Lee, a bird enthusiast, brought a piece of meat from the supermarket and placed the meat in front of the griffon. However the bird refused to touch the meat. It also appeared unwell and the likelihood of its survival through the night seem negligible.

After some discussion a decision was finally made to call in the experts from the Hawk Centre, Jurong BirdPark, who took the bird in. The hesitation to call in Jurong BirdPark arose from the fate of the Himalayan Griffon sighted at Orchard Road (09 Jan 2005). That bird was eventually brought to the Jurong Bird Park (JBP) where it still remains.

Bird lovers are now anxious to know if this rescued bird will regain its freedom once it recovers, or if it will share the fate of the 2005 vulture and spend the rest of its life in captivity at the park.

Text and photos By Wang Luan Keng, 27 Jan 2006. Thanks for the news, Luan! If there are photographers with good photos, do send add your links in the comments, thanks!

Ed's note - It is not yet confirmed if the bird recovered; for this Himalayn Griffon to gain its freedom, it would have to be returned it to its range - the mountain ranges of Myanmar, the Himalayas and Central Asia.

Vultures (G. bengalensis and G. tenuirostrisonce) were once well distributed and even abundant in Southeast Asia! Now, only relic populations remain in parts of Cambodia. Vultures are also in catastrophic decline in South Asia. There are thus now three records of Himalayan Griffon Vulture, Gyps himalayensis in Singapore: Jan 1992, Jan 2005 and Jan 2006. - link. See also Vulture Rescue.

Posted at 3:48PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news