International Vulture Awareness Day celebrated in Schuylkill County

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KEMPTON, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Hawk Mountain Sanctuary shed a light on mother nature’s clean-up crew for International Vulture Awareness Day.

With wings spread wide open, two live vultures claimed the audience’s attention at Hawk Mountain’s Ampitheatre.

“They looked really cool. I really liked the vultures,” said Alexander Pak of Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Nine-year-old Alexander Pak says he didn’t have much interest in the birds before this. That type of reaction is exactly what the founder and director of Red Creek Wildlife Center is looking for.

“The biggest misconception is that they are ugly and stinky and dirty. They are not. They are meticulously clean, very healthy and I think they are beautiful,” said Peggy Sue Hentz, Founder, Red Creek Wildlife Center.

Hawk Mountain and Red Creek came together on International Vulture Awareness Day to show and tell just how important these birds are in maintaining a clean society.

“Imagine if we didn’t have them. You’d get that smell in the window on a summer day when there’s a dead deer carcass outside. But they really do a lot of important work for us,” said Sean Grace, President, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.

Vultures handle the dirty work and by doing so, protect our health.

“Without them in the environment rabies is higher, disease is higher,” said Hentz.

The crown marveled at the two birds named “Zazu” and “Hannibal” and how they came to be rescued. Despite their massive wingspan, each vulture weighs only about four pounds. 16 of the world’s nearly two dozen vulture species range from near threatened to critically endangered.

“To protect something you have to know it, to know it. You have to meet it,” said Hentz.

Hentz hopes the presentation turns audience members into advocates for these birds with a vital function.

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