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A rescued vulture named Kevin

posted Nov 22, 2010, 8:57 AM by Cookie & Creme   [ updated Nov 23, 2010, 6:25 AM ]
17 Nov 2010

I met Kevin at the Frontiers Paragliding office in Pokhara. He was rescued in 2006 when he fell off his nest. Since then, he was hand reared and couldn't be returned to the wild so Scott Mason from the UK trained him to fly with the paragliders and pioneered "parahawking", a sport which combines paragliding with flying with birds of prey who will guide the gliders to the thermals.

That afternoon Kevin was not in a particularly nice mood. His small head jerked to the direction of my fingers everytime I made any big movements, and he bit on several occasions. It's quite funny.

Being the first parahawking vulture in the world, Kevin has clocked several hundreds of flying time in tandem with the gliders. I must say, it's a great honour for me to be flying with Kevin and the parahawking pioneer Scott, and being filmed by ESPN Brazil at the same time!


Heather the assistant bird trainer from US with Kevin

The parahawking team is also running the Himalaya raptor rescue project and supports the local vulture conservation. Euro 10 of our parahawking fee is being contributed to the vulture conservation.

Here's the aerial video view of my flight...

(C) 2010 Scott Mason

The flight involved feeding Kevin raw buffalo meat and he would land on my gloved arm in mid air and feed. For some gliders, he may stay for up to 1 minute but my arm was not strong enough to make him feel 'safe' to stay on too long...

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