Banham Zoo trainer to spend 48 hours in aviary with vultures

Animal trainer Peter McLaren will live with vultures in the vulture enclosure at Banham Zoo for 48 h

Animal trainer Peter McLaren will live with vultures in the vulture enclosure at Banham Zoo for 48 hours.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

They are often considered ugly, revolting and even dangerous.

Animal trainer Peter McLaren will live with vultures in the vulture enclosure at Banham Zoo for 48 h

Animal trainer Peter McLaren will live with vultures in the vulture enclosure at Banham Zoo for 48 hours.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

But Peter McLaren, an animal trainer and presenter at Banham Zoo, will be sharing an aviary with seven vultures - six Ruppell's griffon vulture and one African white backed vulture - for 48 hours.

The 23-year-old is passionate about the birds and is hoping to raise awareness of vultures and much-needed money for conservation projects.

Mr McLaren, who has worked at the zoo for almost seven years, said: 'We wanted something that was high impact and showed that they are not horrible and angry creatures.

'They are quite calm and all have their own individual characters, which we try and show at the displays.


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'They are actually quite hygienic and clean animals and they are quite gentle.'

Mr McLaren will enter the aviary at the 2.30pm on Friday, September 2 and that is where he will stay - apart from toilet and food breaks - until his colleagues let him out at in time for the bird of Prey display on Sunday, September 4 - coinciding with International Vulture Awareness Day.

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He added: 'I am really looking forward to it. I'll be able to answer any questions from the aviary and hopefully changing a few perceptions.'

The trainer will be hoping to raise £2,000 for the GYPS Restoration Project in Pakistan, which aims to help one of the most critically endangered vulture species, the Oriental white-backed vulture.

It is estimated more than 99pc of its former population have died over the last 30 years. Recent estimates suggest there are only between 3,500 and 15,000 birds left in the wild.

Many other species have become endangered for reasons including a toxic drug used on livestock.

For more information and to donate visit http://www.banhamzoo.co.uk/

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