Bambur the rare black vulture had been found wounded in the Land of the Leopard National Park in the Russian Far East.
The injury may have been caused by a fight with a rival vulture, but after careful care at the Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction for Wild Animals, which usually specialises in endangered Amur tigers.
The raptor was released at Kedrovaya Pad Reserve, a part of Land of the Leopard, in an operation overseen by Rosprirodnadzor (Russian environmental watchdog agency). A special ring will allow to identify the bird later was put on the vulture.The release of the bird was successful, and the vulture left its transportation crate and disappeared into the greenery.
Experts believe that Bambur will later leave the reserve and fly hundreds of kilometres to join his peers in China or elsewhere in Russia in their summer hunting grounds.
The rehabilitation of Bambur is the first successful experience in terms of saving a black vulture in Russia.
Wildlife expert Ekaterina Blidchenko said: ‘It is a big bird with huge wings, and sharp claws and beak. ‘Despite this, it’s absolutely not aggressive, but very calm and attentive.’This huge bird measures 98–120 cm (3 ft 3 in–3 ft 11 in) long with a 2.5–3.1 m (8 ft 2 in–10 ft 2 in) wingspan.Males can weigh from 6.3 to 11.5 kg (14 to 25 lb), whereas females can weigh from 7.5 to 14 kg (17 to 31 lb). It is thus one of the world’s heaviest flying birds.