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Cosmo and Nanu - Fantasy


Pecking Orders

She might not be the most beautiful of birds in the sky, but after her real mum rejected her this bearded vulture has become the top of the pecking order for a new campaign to reintroduce the breed to Europe.

The three-month-old bird - with a wingspan of up 12 feet - was raised by substitute parents at Schonbrunn zoo in Vienna, Austria, helped by keepers.

Then scientists from a recolonisation programme took her under their wing, to help get the breed back on its feet.

Bearded vultures died out in their usual Alpine homes when they were hunted to extinction by farmers.

"They are very large birds but there were all sorts of myths about them stealing animals and even children," explained one expert.

Now officials on the repopulation programme have high hopes that she'll join a few dozen other birds setting up communities across Austria, France and Switzerland.

Project head Hans Frey said: "This year alone we've had 15 chicks born in the wild so we think she'll do well."

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