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After 8 years of breeding attempts, endangered vultures welcome chick at Atlanta zoo

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Posted at 2:10 PM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 14:12:54-04

ATLANTA, Ga. — A zoo in Atlanta is celebrating the birth of an endangered vulture.

After eight years of attempting to breed at Zoo Atlanta, two lappet-faced vultures named Anubis and Amana successfully mated and welcomed their first little chick on April 24.

The zoo recently announced the birth of the chick and shared footage of the baby eating and resting with its parents.

The vultures’ journey to parenthood was a little rocky. The zoo says they produced 12 infertile eggs over an eight-year period.

The zoo says the vultures completed a nest over a period of around five months and produced one fertile egg.

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Because Amana and Anubis were inexperienced parents, the zoo says it removed the egg to an artificial incubator and replaced it on the nest with a “dummy” egg that would allow the vultures to continue to engage in the important behavior of incubation.

The chick hatched 54 days later and following 10 days of hand-rearing by the zoo as a precaution, it was reintroduced to its parents.

Now, the zoo says Amana and Anubis are providing appropriate care, and the chick is healthy and is gaining weight as expected.

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“We are always thrilled to see first-time animal parents succeed,” said Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD, Vice President of Collections and Conservation. “This is also a testament to the enormous commitment of our Bird Team, who have worked over a period of many years to provide opportunities and innovations to help this pair flourish.”

The lappet-faced vultures are currently classified as endangered and the zoo says they’re primarily threatened by poisoning, both intentional and accidental, as well as collision with human-made structures.

Unfortunately, the zoo says African vulture species have declined by more than 80% in just the past three decades.