Zoo Announces Birth Of Endangered Vulture After 8 Years Of Infertile Eggs

Considering how many animal species now find themselves in danger of extinction, there's no doubt that it must feel daunting and overwhelming to be a conservationist at times.

Nonetheless, volunteers and professionals dedicated to this cause will often have reason to feel some hope as their efforts have also been shown to yield some incredible results and humans seem to expand their capabilities in solving the world's serious problems every day.

So while it took years of trying, it's hard to imagine just how rewarding it felt when staff at the Atlanta Zoo were able to make a bombshell of an announcement.

For the past eight years, employees at the Atlanta Zoo have fought an uphill battle to get two of their lappet-faced vultures named Anubis and Amana to have a chick.

As People reported, this was a crucial goal for them in light of the fact that this African vulture species has seen its population decline by over 80% within the last 30 years.

As is often the case, this is due to a combination of factors including hunting, habitat loss from agriculture, pollution, and other direct and indirect poisonings.

But until recently, the results of their work seemed disheartening as all 12 of the eggs the mating pair produced in the last decade were infertile.

And while that was also true of two of the eggs that resulted from their mating season, it finally saw a fertile egg emerge.

And the zoo's Bird Team was with the pair every step of the way as they assisted both in building the vultures' nest and in keeping the egg viable after it appeared.

As Dr. Jennifer Mickelberg — the zoo's vice president of collections and conservation — told People, "We are always thrilled to see first-time animal parents succeed. 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."

Before the egg hatched, zoo staff gave its parents a "dummy" egg while they kept the real one in an incubator.

Finally, it was born on April 24 after 54 days of incubation and was slowly introduced to Anubis and Amana over a period of 10 days.

The zoo stated on Instagram that they chose to do this with the chick's father Anubis first because Amana is both larger and more prone to aggression.

However, this introduction seemed to go off without a hitch.

It doesn't appear that the chick has been named yet and it's not expected to be on display for a while, but it's reportedly in good health.

As Mickelberg put it, "The birth of an endangered species is always an occasion for celebration, but this hatching represents a particular success for Zoo Atlanta."

h/t: People

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