|Picardi with Mum and Dad|
Staff at the Hawk Conservancy Trust are celebrating the birth of Picardi, an African White-backed Vulture, who is due to make his first appearance at the Trust's Visitor Centre near Andover during the Easter weekend.
The four-week old chick was born to parents who were among 250 wild birds confiscated by Italian State Officials, 20 of which were re-homed at the Trust in 2006. The pair, who will mate for life, have made previous attempts at breeding but without success until now.
Chief Executive, Ashley Smith, said 'we are absolutely thrilled and delighted. It is rare for African White-backed Vultures to breed in captivity but the behavioural enrichment programme employed at the Trust has obviously made them feel settled.'
Picardi is named after a landmark at the main field site in Kimberley, South Africa where the Trust has a major conservation research project on African White-backed Vultures to discover more about the threats they face in the wild. African White-backed Vultures are currently listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.
Chief Scientific Officer, Campbell Murn, said 'Picardi's future is really exciting. He will become an ambassador for his species, showing not only how fascinating vultures are, but also how essential they are to the health of the environment. He will eventually join other birds of prey at the Trust who take part in our flying demonstrations, flying experience days and visits to schools as part of our education and outreach work.'