Fun_People Archive
28 Sep
Gay birds of a feather parent together at Israeli zoo

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 99 12:36:34 -0700
To: Fun_People
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Subject: Gay birds of a feather parent together at Israeli zoo

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Forwarded-by: Kevin Johnsrude <>
Forwarded-by: Betsy Perry

	Gay birds of a feather parent together at Israeli zoo
	September 18, 1999
	From: Correspondent Jerrold Kessel

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Zoo keepers involved in an ambitious breeding program
for endangered Griffin vultures are getting a helping hand from a vulture
couple that, ironically, doesn't breed.

Keepers noticed that Dashik and Yahuda, two male vultures at Jerusalem
Biblical Zoo, had built a nest together and were mating. So they decided to
give the couple an artificial egg to see what would happen.

"They were sitting incubating perfectly," said the zoo's head keeper, Itzik
Yadid. "If they are incubating so good, sharing between the two of them,
the next step will be obviously to give them a chick to raise."

So far, Dashik and Yahuda have raised two baby birds, Diva and Adi Gordon,
with results that exceeded expectations

"We're very proud of them. We think they've done a marvelous job," said bird
keeper Sharon Sterling. "They've behaved extremely well, the best parents
we've ever seen."

Keepers had initially thought about separating Dashik and Yahuda and trying
to bring in a female to create a heterosexual vulture couple.

"And then we said, 'Why should we do it? If they are together, if they are
raising a chick together, why should we separate them?'" Yadid said. "So we
decided to let them stay together and keep raising chicks together."

There is a reason beyond mere curiosity for seeking parenting help from the
gay vultures. Normally, female Griffin vultures lay only one egg a year.
But if the egg is taken from the mother, she will lay a second egg, a
process known as "double clutching."

So by providing suitable surrogate parents for the eggs that are taken, bird
keepers can increase the number of vultures that are bred.

Griffin vultures, once a common sight in the Mideast, have nearly
disappeared.  The zoo is trying to reintroduce them through the breeding

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