A rare red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus) in Huay Kha Khaeng wildlife sanctuary in Uthai Thani has laid its first egg, marking a significant step in ongoing efforts to breed and reintroduce this critically endangered species to Thailand.
The news was shared on social media by Ornyupa Sangkamarn, secretary-general of the Sueb Nakhasathien Foundation, who said she was keeping her fingers crossed that the egg would be fertile and hatch.
According to Ms Ornyupa, the female red-headed vulture, named Ming, laid its egg on Sunday after mating on Nov 23.
The male vulture, named Pock, was in captivity in Korat Zoo before it was relocated to the wildlife sanctuary for the breeding and reintroduction programme.
It was the first time the two had mated since they were paired together at the breeding site in February last year. The news sparked excitement and hope among breeding programme participants.
The breeding programme is a five-year collaboration from October 2020-September 2025 between the Zoological Park Organisation (ZPO), the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), Kasetsart University and the Sueb Nakhasathien Foundation to breed and return the vultures to the wild. The last big flock of 35 red-headed vultures disappeared from the sanctuary in February 1992 after eating a poisoned deer carcass used by tiger hunters.
The red-headed vulture is a protected species in Thailand and is listed as nearly critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).