Friday, March 9, 2007

Rare vulture to be flown to Mongolia

The next time you take a Thai Airways flight to China, a passenger with a wingspan of 9.2 feet and a taste for rotting carcasses may also be on board. The country's national carrier announced Wednesday that it will transport a juvenile cinereous vulture to Beijing on March 21 to help return the rare bird to its natural environment in Mongolia. The vulture — normally not found in Thailand — has been nursed back to health by veterinarians at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, after apparently getting lost in late December and ending up dehydrated and near death in Chanthaburi province. "We understand that it is the first time in Thailand that this type of vulture has been located and it is important that they are returned to their natural habitat," Thai Airways President Apinan Sumanaseni said in a statement. He said the airline also has transported other rare animals in the past, including pandas and white tigers. Thai Airways will not charge for the flight. There will be a staff of five traveling with the vulture, including two veterinarians, it said.

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