Breaking: King Vulture Captured (And Released)

By Andon Zebal - SCA Alum ‘08

Andon Zebal (SCA Alum ‘08) is currently traveling through Mexico, volunteering for as many ecology, sustainable development, and reforestation projects as possible. He is reporting his experiences on his website.

I’m breaking chronosequence today to bring you this important report from the jungles of Campeche. I’ve been working with Mauro Sanvicente, a veterinarian turned burocrat turned wildlife vet, to capture and place a radio transmitter on a King Vulture in the area around the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. Mauro’s been at this for three months, but he hasn’t captured any of these elusive beasts. In fact, no one has ever captured a healthy adult specimen in Mexico. Until today.

We’ve been at the Ejido “Veinte de Noviembre,” just north of the Reserve, for three days with no luck. Mauro says it takes a couple of days for the roadkill & cowguts to get stinky, so the third day is usually when they take interest in the bait.

Our trap consisted of a net laced with tiny nooses meant to snag a foot or a claw, placed on the ground and with the meat in the middle. We had almost given up and were talking about what to do tomorrow when I mentioned, in passing, a sound I had heard last time I went over to check the trap. It was kind of a low roar, a sound I thought was associated with a wild boar or a howler monkey.

Mauro asked me to describe the sound, and as I did he got excited and headed to the little tent from where we check the trap. He came back with images of a juvenile checking out our bait, but decided to give them some time (they’re extremely cautious) to explore the trap and get their
talons caught in it.

See Video and Continue Reading Breaking: King Vulture Captured on Andon’s Blog

Mauro Sanvicente’s project to capture, radio-collar, and track the movements of the King Vulture is on-going and always requires volunteers. If you can get yourself to the Chetumal in the Yucatan Peninsula, and are willing to work, he’ll pay for your food and provide housing. He can be reached at msanvicente67@yahoo.com.mx