Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Nepal Vulture Breeding team!!
Nepal, November 4 - 7th and the weather was lovely, sunny and warm but not too hot, although it was interesting that the Nepalese and Indians all wanted the heaters on and the British all went round and turned them off!!! The hotel  was pleasant, with nice gardens and the hot water was hot, which was a huge bonus. This trip was for the main yearly SAVE which stands for Save Asian Vultures from Extinction. It’s a group that encompasses India, Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. We cover the monitoring of vultures in the wild, the implementation of Vulture Save Zone, these are zones that are made safe for the wild birds, and eventually these will be areas used for releasing the captive bred birds as well. Advocacy is covered and is crucial because without political lobbying to make sure that diclofenac  (and sadly now other NSAIDS that have proved to be toxic as well) is properly banned for use as veterinary drug, our breeding efforts will be a waste of time. We cover the breeding programmes, looking forward to the first releases and various other topics over a two day period. It is hard work, but when we finally succeed  with the project it will all be very worth-while.

That was pretty much the last big trip this year, which is good because things they are a ‘changing at the Centre. On my return from Nepal  last time, Michele had left to go back to the US and work on her degree. We miss her, but have a number of work experience people waiting in the wings to come and join us. However it was more of a surprise when Adam announced that he felt he wanted to leave and challenge himself to work in the conservation field, i.e. go out into the field for research, as have Ben and Nasha. He is planning on funding it with his artwork, which is first class, and all we can do is wish him the best of luck with it all. He will be with us until the end of February.
It came as a much bigger surprise when Simon also announced that he felt very stale and was not even looking forward to the next breeding season, or flying his goshawk,  and so wanted to leave. He has been our Curator for four years and been solely in charge of the breeding. He has also gone to India three times to assist with the incubation training there. The breeding season is very tiring and stressful, particularly if you work alone, which Simon likes to do and our breeding season is also very long, in fact we have eggs already,  and chicks so there are very few months of the year when none of the birds are breeding, so I can understand his feeling of tiredness and staleness, and again we can only wish him the best of luck with his future – oh and don’t forget to take your motorbike Simon! 

All this might seem shocking, but no staff member stays for ever, they have other things they might want to do, and other lives that they live. The Centre carries on, there will be changes, but they may be for the good, you can never tell. We will look forward, new people will come, although not straight away, the birds will be as well looked after as ever and we will welcome our visitors with pleasure as ever.

For now the next thing we concentrate on,  is getting the ICBP Duncombe Centre finished so that we can take up a significant number of birds into their new and very smart and comfortable enclosures. This will happen this month, thus giving us a number of spare enclosures at Newent, and that means we can refurbish, tidy, clean and paint them and move birds around so that they are also more comfortable – and all this before Christmas!!! So all volunteers feel free to come in and help us during the second half of November and December up to about the 21st!

So although there is great change coming at the Centre, its an exciting time for us, both at Newent and the new branch in Helmsley.



I have to say that keeping a weblog can at times become compulsive and at other times a chore. Sometimes I am berrated for not keeping it up and sometimes I get wonderful comments from people who follow the news of the Centre.

It is fun to share the daily goings on here, some good and some bad, some funny and some sad, but all a part of our daily lives.
And as I said before its a pretty cool to be here and it is a great place to visit, you should try coming and watching the birds and meeting the staff and of course the dogs.

An interesting video on Lead

An interesting video on Lead

I find it staggering that people who want to hunt don't see the value in changing their ammunition from lead to a safer product. We have stopped using lead in petrol, in paint, in our water pipes, but they still want to use lead - ah well, apparently eating it not only kills birds but leads to reduced intelligence in humans......................

NO ONE is asking you to stop legal and genuine hunting, they are just asking you to change your ammunition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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