A badly injured Egyptian Vulture, an endangered species, was discovered within the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan after it hit a power line in the Jordan Valley. This Egyptian Vulture had a dislocated wing and slightly broken beak, in addition to having an extremely low body temperature and was suffering from dehydration. The injured bird, however, was born in Israel in 2012 as part of a program run by the Nature and Parks Authority in the Carmel region to increase the number of endangered birds in the region. This bird was raised in the nature and was released into the wild. So far, a total of 19 Egyptian vultures have been released into the nature as part of this program.

Thus, when this endangered Egyptian Vulture was found in Jordan, the Jordanian authorities contacted the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and told them that they could take the bird in order to treat it, provided that they came to Jordan to pick up the bird. Noam Weiss agreed to make the trip. “Because the vulture is a rare bird, we needed special permission from the Jordanian monarchy,” Weiss said. “In the past it wasn’t possible to get authorizations, but this time, fortunately, it happened immediately.” In fact, the only Jordanian requirement was that a Jordanian citizen partook in the transfer of the bird to Israel and the Israeli Veterinary Service issue authorizations, which occurred within a record amount of time so that the bird could be healed quicker.

“When we got to the border, we were again asked to show the paperwork and the bird, and on the Israeli side, they did not give up on any security check, but they conducted them as quickly as possible,” Weiss said. The injured Egyptian Vulture is presently receiving medical treatment at the Safari Wildlife Hospital in Ramat Gan. As the injured Egyptian Vulture is undergoing various tests, it is still unknown whether or not the bird will succeed in being able to return to the wild or the bird will be forced to live in the Hai Bar Nature Reserve. However, this case exemplifies that when there is joint cooperation between Israel and her Arab neighborhoods, wonderful things can be accomplished. In this case, it was saving the life of an endangered bird, yet joint cooperation between Israel and the Arab world can succeed to accomplish many other wonderful things as well.

Egyptian Vultures, which are also known as white scavenger vultures or Pharaoh’s Chicken, exists in North Africa, Europe, India and the Middle East. Egyptian Vultures usually breed in temperate climates, yet migrate south for the winter. Unfortunately, both the Middle Eastern and European population of Egyptian Vultures has declined by over 50 percent in recent times. In Israel, according to the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the population of Egyptian Vultures has shrunk by 70 percent.

Hunting, habitat destruction, and power lines, such as the one that injured this particular Egyptian vulture, are viewed to be the main reasons why the Egyptian Vultures are an endangered species today. Additionally, according to Mindy Baha al-Din, a bird specialist working for the non-governmental organization Nature Conservation-Egypt, “One of the main threats that are endangering these birds is the secondary poisoning that occurs when the vulture feeds on an animal carcass like a stray dog or cat which has been poisoned by humans.” However, through international cooperation, hopefully Israel will be able to work with her Arab neighbors towards preventing the extinction of the Egyptian Vulture.

By Rachel Avraham