its beauty wot killed the beast

root - Posted on 29 January 2007

STORIES of Animal Resistance-

by Dee

Gollum the lazy vulture who had to go to flying school

By Stewart Payne

Gollum the idle vulture had no reason to fly. His meals were delivered by hand, so for four years he has simply furled his mighty 6ft wings�and hopped everywhere.

Chocks away: but Gollum still cannot get off the ground

Until yesterday, that is. In what might seem a rather dramatic attempt to make him to do what should have come naturally, his owner took him to a vertical wind tunnel in the hope that a powerful blast of air might awaken a dormant instinct.

Gollum, an African white-backed vulture born in captivity, at first just perched impassively on his owner's outstretched arm. But then some primeval call of the wild reached him. Gollum outstretched his wings and�well, that was about it.

We have lift-off: Gollum is introduced to the wind tunnel

But for Steve Eales it was a breakthrough. Having tried everything he could think of to get his pet to fly, the wind tunnel was the last-ditch attempt. "He took his entire weight off my arm," he said. "I had to keep hold for his safety, but he was as close to soaring as you can get."

Mr Eales hopes that Gollum's brief flying lesson may be sufficient to encourage him to take to the wing without the need for a second visit to the Airkix wind tunnel at Milton Keynes, Bucks, which is used to train sky divers.

Mr Eales, 43, who runs Hawk on the Wild Side in Milton Keynes, which gives people a chance to get close to birds of prey, said: "Gollum simply never learnt to fly. He knows where his tea is coming from each day and clearly just thinks, 'What do I need to go up there for?' "



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