By Aaliya Mir
Wildlife SOS received a rescue call of an unusual bird present in Darend area of district Ganderbal.The area lies on outskirts of Ganderbal town and is a typical rural area with majority of Gujjars inhabiting the village.
The rescue team headed by Tahir Gazanfar along with a team of dedicated volunteers rushed to the spot and reached the village at about 8:30 pm in the evening. On reaching the spot, it was extremely difficult to locate the house which was in possession of the bird. Once the house was located, the inhabitants were asked about the bird which was kept in a store room on the second floor of the house with an access through a steep wooden ladder. The teams climbed the ladder and after a protracted struggle in dark, finally were able to take bird under our control which happened to be an Egyptian Vulture. The bird was frightened, injured and in bad health. Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) smallest among all vultures, is a globally endangered species on the IUCN Red List.
The rescue operation was hindered by the hostile nature of the villagers who for unknown reasons had taken the bird into captivity for few days (as evident from the bird’s conditions).The bird had an evident injury mark on its back which had turned septic. After an initial first aid, it was kept under observation for the whole night. The bird was weak and disturbed that it did’t eat anything. The next morning after being put to the vet examination and X-ray, it was pronounced that the bird has no broken wings and its chances of flight are good provided some initial assistance is given.
The vulture was kept at Dachigam in an enclosure to give it some time to recuperate and for its wounds to heal. A weeks time of continuous medication and rehabilitation made it sure that the vulture recovered fully and gained its ability to fly. Once we were certain enough about its recovery, a perfect place in consultation with the department of wildlife protection was chosen for its release. With an initial glitch, finally the bird took off and was set free back into the wild.