By Renee C. Rebman
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Additional resources for Vultures
33 5 An Uncertain Future Vultures play an important role in the cycle of life. They are the natural garbage removal experts of the earth. Dead animals attract disease-carrying insects. If the vultures did not eat this carrion, disease would spread. The land and water supply would become polluted with bodies. This would eventually make farming land unusable and living space uninhabitable. In some areas of India and Africa, vultures are welcomed and live right in the center of the cities. They scavenge at the town dumping sites and devour the waste at the harbors left from the fishing boats.
Other species of vultures also double clutch. When a parent returns to the nest, it lands 31 nearby but does not approach it immediately. It will walk around for about fifteen minutes to see if any predator is watching before it joins the chick. Chicks do not learn to fly until they are at least ten weeks old. Andean condors do not fly until they are six months old. By five to six months of age vultures begin going with their parents to hunt for food. They are soon self-sufficient and ready to live on their own.
Captive breeding—The process of breeding animals in human controlled environments, such as zoos and wildlife preserves. carcass—The body of a dead animal. carrion—Dead animals that scavengers eat. climate—Weather conditions in a certain place. clutch—The set of eggs laid at one time. convergent—Moving toward the same point in development. crop—The sacklike part of a bird’s digestive track where food is stored. DDT—A poison used to kill pests that is harmful to animals and is now illegal in the United States.