Photo Credit: Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90

A vulture is spreading its wings as it is released back into the wild in the southern Negev Desert near Kibbutz Sde Boker earlier this week.

The Israeli nature and park authority recently trapped 96 vultures and released them after the birds had undergone examination and each received a ring and number.

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According to Birding Israel, the Griffon Vulture was once very common in Israel, up to the middle of the 20th century: more than 1,000 pairs bred on cliffs in most areas of the country, including the Carmel and Judean hills. The population today is about 5% its former size. Breeding pairs have survived in the Judean desert, the central Negev, the eastern Galilee and the Golan Heights. It suffers from food shortage in the south and from disturbances and low breeding success all over the country.

The species is on the verge of extinction in Israel.

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Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.

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