Houston Zoo welcomes a committee of six African vultures

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Six endangered vultures are making the Houston Zoo their new home. This is the first time in the Zoo's history to house Old World vultures.

The six vultures consist of two cape vultures, one Ruppell's griffon vulture, and three hooded vultures. Although the Old World vultures have similarities, each species have distinguishing features:

Cape vultures' wingspan can reach up to 8.5 feet and are among the largest Old World vultures. They can consume 10 percent of their body weight in a single feeding.

Ruppell's griffon vultures are large with an eight-foot wingspan. They are said to be the highest-flying birds in the world.

Hooded vultures are smaller Old World vultures. Within this species, the males tend to be smaller than females.

The population of all three African species is diminishing due to poaching. In a press release, the Houston Zoo said it provides training and support for anti-poaching scouts hired from the local communities to find traps set for wildlife and apprehend poachers in areas where vultures live.

Guests to the Houston Zoo can see the committee of vultures in the former jaguar habitat next to the cougars. By visiting the zoo, guests are contributing to the zoo's wildlife saving efforts, ensuring animals like the vultures, don't go extinct.

A portion of each zoo admission and membership goes toward helping to protect vultures in the wild.
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