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Pictures | Thu Jun 11, 2020 | 11:57am EDT

Israel's griffon vultures get new lease on life

A conservationist holds the head of a griffon vulture after it was temporarily captured as part of a national project to protect and increase the population of the protected bird in Israel, at a makeshift data-collecting station near Sde Boker in southern Israel October 29, 2019. The griffon vulture is not only ungainly, smelly and endangered: it is also often denied its biblical fame by being mixed up with the eagle. But for a network of Israeli conservationists, the bird still has pride of place in the land whose ancient prophets saw in its soaring flight a metaphor for religious exaltation.

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A conservationist holds the head of a griffon vulture after it was temporarily captured as part of a national project to protect and increase the population of the protected bird in Israel, at a makeshift data-collecting station near Sde Boker in...more

A conservationist holds the head of a griffon vulture after it was temporarily captured as part of a national project to protect and increase the population of the protected bird in Israel, at a makeshift data-collecting station near Sde Boker in southern Israel October 29, 2019. The griffon vulture is not only ungainly, smelly and endangered: it is also often denied its biblical fame by being mixed up with the eagle. But for a network of Israeli conservationists, the bird still has pride of place in the land whose ancient prophets saw in its soaring flight a metaphor for religious exaltation. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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A griffon vulture lands in an area, used as a feeding station, where carrion is left by conservationists near Sde Boker in southern Israel. Hit by accidental poisoning and urbanization, Israel's griffon vulture population has fallen to around 180 in the wild, says Yigal Miller, manager of programs for endangered raptors at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A griffon vulture lands in an area, used as a feeding station, where carrion is left by conservationists near Sde Boker in southern Israel. Hit by accidental poisoning and urbanization, Israel's griffon vulture population has fallen to around 180 in...more

A griffon vulture lands in an area, used as a feeding station, where carrion is left by conservationists near Sde Boker in southern Israel. Hit by accidental poisoning and urbanization, Israel's griffon vulture population has fallen to around 180 in the wild, says Yigal Miller, manager of programs for endangered raptors at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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Yigal Miller, manager of programs for endangered raptors at Israel's Nature and Parks Authority, holds a griffon vulture after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker in southern Israel. As part of the 'Under our Wing' project run by his organization and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, the next generation is being reared in captivity before being let loose in the desert with tracking tags. "We raise the vulture chicks... and after several years we release them to nature," Miller said.

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Yigal Miller, manager of programs for endangered raptors at Israel's Nature and Parks Authority, holds a griffon vulture after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker in southern Israel. As part of the 'Under our Wing' project run by his...more

Yigal Miller, manager of programs for endangered raptors at Israel's Nature and Parks Authority, holds a griffon vulture after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker in southern Israel. As part of the 'Under our Wing' project run by his organization and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, the next generation is being reared in captivity before being let loose in the desert with tracking tags. "We raise the vulture chicks... and after several years we release them to nature," Miller said. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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A griffon vulture spreads it wings bearing its tracking tags as it prepares to fly near Sde Boker. Named "nesher" in Hebrew, the bird has often been mislabelled in scriptures, notably in the King James version of the English Bible, which in Exodus describes God as bearing the Israelites on eagles' rather than vultures' wings.

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A griffon vulture spreads it wings bearing its tracking tags as it prepares to fly near Sde Boker. Named "nesher" in Hebrew, the bird has often been mislabelled in scriptures, notably in the King James version of the English Bible, which in Exodus...more

A griffon vulture spreads it wings bearing its tracking tags as it prepares to fly near Sde Boker. Named "nesher" in Hebrew, the bird has often been mislabelled in scriptures, notably in the King James version of the English Bible, which in Exodus describes God as bearing the Israelites on eagles' rather than vultures' wings. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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Griffon vultures, some with their tracking tags visible, stand together in an area used as a feeding station near Sde Boker. According to Israel's Biblical Museum of Natural History, many people still feel as uncomfortable as those 17th-century translators did in identifying as a vulture a bird described in noble terms by scripture.

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Griffon vultures, some with their tracking tags visible, stand together in an area used as a feeding station near Sde Boker. According to Israel's Biblical Museum of Natural History, many people still feel as uncomfortable as those 17th-century...more

Griffon vultures, some with their tracking tags visible, stand together in an area used as a feeding station near Sde Boker. According to Israel's Biblical Museum of Natural History, many people still feel as uncomfortable as those 17th-century translators did in identifying as a vulture a bird described in noble terms by scripture. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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A griffon vulture flies after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker. "The vulture is (nowadays) commonly regarded as a loathsome creature," its website explains. "But in the Middle East, it is the griffon vulture that is the king of birds."

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A griffon vulture flies after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker. "The vulture is (nowadays) commonly regarded as a loathsome creature," its website explains. "But in the Middle East, it is the griffon vulture that is the king of...more

A griffon vulture flies after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker. "The vulture is (nowadays) commonly regarded as a loathsome creature," its website explains. "But in the Middle East, it is the griffon vulture that is the king of birds." REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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Griffon vultures are seen inside a breeding cage at the Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in the Carmel mountains in Haifa, northern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Griffon vultures are seen inside a breeding cage at the Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in the Carmel mountains in Haifa, northern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Griffon vultures are seen inside a breeding cage at the Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in the Carmel mountains in Haifa, northern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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A conservationist draws blood from a griffon vulture after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A conservationist draws blood from a griffon vulture after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A conservationist draws blood from a griffon vulture after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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Yigal Miller, manager of programs for endangered raptors at Israel's Nature and Parks Authority, holds a griffon vulture chick before relocating it to Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in Haifa, two days after it hatched at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Yigal Miller, manager of programs for endangered raptors at Israel's Nature and Parks Authority, holds a griffon vulture chick before relocating it to Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in Haifa, two days after it hatched at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem....more

Yigal Miller, manager of programs for endangered raptors at Israel's Nature and Parks Authority, holds a griffon vulture chick before relocating it to Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in Haifa, two days after it hatched at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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Griffon vultures stand inside a nesting box at the Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in the Carmel mountains in Haifa, northern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Griffon vultures stand inside a nesting box at the Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in the Carmel mountains in Haifa, northern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Griffon vultures stand inside a nesting box at the Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in the Carmel mountains in Haifa, northern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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A conservationist performs a test on a griffon vulture after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A conservationist performs a test on a griffon vulture after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A conservationist performs a test on a griffon vulture after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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A griffon vulture flies over a valley after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A griffon vulture flies over a valley after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A griffon vulture flies over a valley after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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A griffon vulture is seen after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A griffon vulture is seen after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A griffon vulture is seen after it was temporarily captured near Sde Boker. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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A conservationist from Ramat Gan's Safari Zoo gestures while releasing a griffon vulture near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A conservationist from Ramat Gan's Safari Zoo gestures while releasing a griffon vulture near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A conservationist from Ramat Gan's Safari Zoo gestures while releasing a griffon vulture near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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Yigal Miller, manager of programs for endangered raptors at Israel's Nature and Parks Authority, weighs a griffon vulture near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Yigal Miller, manager of programs for endangered raptors at Israel's Nature and Parks Authority, weighs a griffon vulture near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Yigal Miller, manager of programs for endangered raptors at Israel's Nature and Parks Authority, weighs a griffon vulture near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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A griffon vulture bearing a tracking tag stands next to its nest where it is brooding over an egg, in a cliff near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A griffon vulture bearing a tracking tag stands next to its nest where it is brooding over an egg, in a cliff near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A griffon vulture bearing a tracking tag stands next to its nest where it is brooding over an egg, in a cliff near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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A conservationist gestures while releasing a griffon vulture near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A conservationist gestures while releasing a griffon vulture near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A conservationist gestures while releasing a griffon vulture near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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A griffon vulture flies over an area, used as a feeding station, where carrion is left by conservationists near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A griffon vulture flies over an area, used as a feeding station, where carrion is left by conservationists near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A griffon vulture flies over an area, used as a feeding station, where carrion is left by conservationists near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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A griffon vulture lands near a wolf while it drags meat in an area, used as a feeding station, where carrion is left by conservationists near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A griffon vulture lands near a wolf while it drags meat in an area, used as a feeding station, where carrion is left by conservationists near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A griffon vulture lands near a wolf while it drags meat in an area, used as a feeding station, where carrion is left by conservationists near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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Animal bones are seen near an area, used as a feeding station, near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Animal bones are seen near an area, used as a feeding station, near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Animal bones are seen near an area, used as a feeding station, near Sde Boker in southern Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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