Jurong Bird Park's pioneer generation vulture dies
Rod, an Egyptian Vulture, had been part of the park since it opened in 1971.
SINGAPORE: Jurong Bird Park's pioneer generation vulture and its oldest bird has died at an estimated age of about 60 years old.
In a Facebook post on Thursday (Aug 25), Mandai Wildlife Reserve announced the passing of Rod, an elderly Egyptian Vulture which had been part of Jurong Bird Park since it opened in 1971.
Mandai Wildlife Reserve said that Rod was already an adult when he joined the park and was "possibly the world’s oldest of his species".
The reserve said that Rod's lifespan was "almost three times the natural lifespan of Egyptian Vultures in the wild".
"Rod was loved and lived a full life at Jurong Bird Park where he, in his younger days, played an integral role in raising awareness of threats faced by his wild counterparts."
Rod had until recently remained spritely for his age, added the reserve.
The reserve said that being a geriatric bird, Rod had "age-related health issues".
He was placed under the Senior Animal Care Programme from 2018 which included more frequent health checks, a customised diet and feeding, and modified environment to ensure he continued to have a good quality of life.
Mandai Wildlife Reserve said that after Rod's last assessment by his carers and vets, it was found that his age-related complications had advanced and were "severely affecting his quality of life".
"On welfare grounds, the difficult decision was therefore made to humanely euthanise him."
Rod left a mark on everyone that has crossed his path over the five decades, but no one more than Clarence Saw, who has known Rod since 1988 when he first joined Jurong Bird Park.
"Rod was a special bird. He was the bird I got to work with the longest, and he was instrumental in honing my bird handling skills in the early years of my career," said Mr Saw.
"Rod showed me how truly intelligent and full of personality birds can be. The bird park will not be the same without him and he will be sorely missed.”