Hat tip to Sylvia and her Fear of Landing blog for finding and posting this story about a Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture (which is native to Africa) named Gandalf. The seven-year-old female, who has been the star at the World of Wings centre since 2006, was originally brought from the Sahel region of central Africa as part of a breeding programme. However, it was recently reported that:
Warnings were issued to air traffic over Scotland and England yesterday after a vulture which is capable of soaring at heights of more than 30,000 feet escaped during an air show.
Britain’s air traffic control group to issue the warning. "We made pilots aware of the possibility of seeing this bird as it has a three-meter wingspan and can fly at altitudes used by commercial aircraft," a British air traffic control spokesman says to the Telegraph of London.
Luckily, it was later reported by the BBC that she was found safe and sound after being spotted by a Vet, who had spent time in Africa and recognized the bird, at a disused brickworks near Falkirk. However, one commentator on the PPRuNe Forums noted that:
They are plentiful in Africa and South America for example and I never see an alert put out to that effect. Even if they did make it that high you would never see the things in any event. What avoiding action would you take? Is it TACS equipped?
Someone get a grip FFS