#221 Hooded Vulture

Critically Endangered

Around the World in 80 Days - Day 13

Phileas Fogg would be sailing around by Somalia now. These are pretty small as vultures go, and don't have very strong beaks so often they wait for bigger vultures to start carcasses which makes it easier for them. They also eat insects, and are known to follow plows to get the insects and things that are then easy pickings. they are at risk from habitat loss and from improved removal of remains like the bodies of livestock which lessens their food sources. They also are killed by electrocution and hunting. They are hunted for food though are often then mislabeled as chicken, but also they are used for medicinal reason. Their biggest threat though is poisonings. In just about a month almost 1000 vultures, 28 of which were hooded vultures, were killed because of poisoned carcasses. It is thought that poachers poisoned the elephant carcasses in an attempt to keep vultures from circling above them and alerting rangers to the kills. Feral dogs are often killed with the use of strychnine too, and then vultures that clean the bodies up are killed as well. These mate for life and use the same nest year after year. The baby vulture can't fend for itself for 7 months.

This is a hooded vulture juvenile. I took the photo at the Oregon Zoo many years ago. I believe they still have one, and he is maybe 18 or 19 years old, so probably the same one. They can live to be 30 in captivity. They get less of a fuzzy face, and they go blonde as they get older. I have really been missing doing photography. I have such a bad back that I can't really carry my digital camera anymore without a good bit of pain, but I really would love to get out and do a photography day. Sometimes I threaten to get an alpaca and fit it with a camera bag and have it be my hiking buddy. We aren't allowed any livestock in town though, and I doubt I could convince the city that an alpaca is just an oddly deformed dog that really likes to eat grass. If our dogs were bigger, I could separate out camera equipment between the two of them, but the blind timid one panics if he even just wears a harness, and the beagle/corgi mix has a long corgi back so I wouldn't want to put things on her and risk causing back problems. So, for the meantime, I am focusing on this project and thinking up all sorts of series I'd like to do with photography. Eventually I will be able to save up and get a mirrorless camera which is much lighter and smaller, and hopefully less painful to carry.

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