Morosely Israel’s Griffon Vulture population is in a crisis. Thanks to a drone that has replaced one of the vulture’s parents, it merited it the nickname of “Mama” drone.
The drone has been delivering food to the rare Vulture chick in Israel as the mother Griffon struck disaster when it flew into power lines and electrocuted.
Luckily, the conservationists realized they had a problem, as they keep a protective eye on the Vultures. Cameras are set up to monitor nesting sites, and one of the nests monitored is where two mature Griffons were raising a chick. The female parent was out hunting to bring back carrion for the chick and got electrocuted.
It is really very rough for single Vulture parents. The father Griffon wouldn’t be able to feed and protect the chick on its own.
Conservationists thought the solution would be to send a climber up and take the chick into captivity to ensure it would be fed regularly, but then someone rolled out another option.
If they could get food up, then the chick could continue living in the wild. The brilliant idea of the drone delivery manifested.
The army was contacted, and an outside firm specializing in augmented reality and technology, Xtend, was brought in. With their help, the military prepared for the mission by staging a mock-up nest in their bases. Soon, it was preparing for the delicate task of delivering and dropping its payload in a dangerous location.
The operation took hours of practice flights, and then the big moment arrived. The operation was a success from the start, and then every two or three days, the “Mama” drone dropped food off, and the chick gobbled it up.
Thankfully the father bird did not perceive the drone as a threat.
The Griffon Vulture is a massive bird of prey with a long neck and strong hooked bill to break open carcasses. Its wingspan is over 2.5 meters.
The Vultures digestive system is acidic and robust enough to deal with the toxins of the rotting flesh. Known as “sanitarians” makes the vultures a crucial part of the ecosystem as they clean up the dead and eliminates the spreading of diseases.
Unfortunately, the numbers of Griffons in Israel have been steadily declining over the past 50 years. The Griffon Vulture is critically endangered (CR) in other places around the eastern Mediterranean, not only in Israel but sadly also in other different species of Vultures worldwide.
In fact, poison and power lines are the top two killers of Vultures.
In this video you can get a better idea of the whole operation;
The chick thrived and flew for the first time in the above video, thanks to the army and Xtend.
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Featured image is not the actual photo.