SINGAPORE — Rod, Jurong Bird Park’s (JBP) beloved Egyptian Vulture, has died at the age of nearly 60 years old, Mandai Wildlife Reserve (MWR) said on Thursday (25 August).
In a post on Facebook, the wildlife attraction operator said Rod was already an adult when JBP opened in 1971, making him the park’s oldest bird and possibly the world’s oldest of his species. His lifespan was almost three times that of Egyptian Vultures in the wild.
Rod has played a key role in raising awareness of the threats to his wild counterparts and was spritely for his age up until recently, MWR said.
Given his age, Rod had various health issues and his diet was adjusted accordingly while health checks on him became more frequent. Due to Rod’s advanced complications, as assessed by his carers and vets, a difficult decision was made to humanely euthanise him, MWR added.
Clarence Saw, a staff member who had known Rod since he joined JBP in 1988, called Rod a “special bird”. Rod was key in honing Saw’s bird handling skills in the early years of his career. “His calm and cool personality made him easy to work with – he would never try to peck or harm anyone,” Saw said.
Rod was able to perform routines such as picking up rocks and throwing them at a hollowed-out ostrich egg, according to Saw. Rod would keep doing it as long as there were rocks around, Saw added.
“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.”
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