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King vulture born in captivity in Costa Rica

March 13, 2013

Costa Rica’s Zoo Ave has managed the first birth in captivity in Latin America of a king vulture, the zoological park said Wednesday.

Zoo Ave, an animal rescue center, operates a zoological park located some 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the capital San José.

The king vulture chick emerged from its egg on Tuesday at the zoo, where specialists had been trying to hatch one of the birds in captivity for 20 years.

This is one of the few successful hatchings of king vultures in captivity in the world, Zoo Ave workers said.

King vulture reproduction is complicated because the species, which is threatened with extinction, lays only one egg a year during the dry season.

“The animal was incubated by both parents. A day before it was born, it was taken to the incubator. There it received an adequate temperature that allowed the chick to break through the egg,” Zoo Ave spokesman Ronald Sibaja said.

The chick will remain with its parents at the rescue center for now.

The king vulture is the third-largest vulture on the continent, and its size varies between 67 and 81 centimeters in length. Its wing span can measure up to two meters. It can be found from Mexico to Brazil.

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