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Bearded vulture Rin Ran will be able to see again – thanks to overwhelming public donations

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Thanks to the support of over 50 members of the public a young bearded vulture in Andalucia’s Guadalentin Captive-Breeding Centre will undergo an operation to help restore her sight. 

Meet Rin Ran

Rin Ran was the first chick to hatch in January 2018 in this year´s breeding season  at the Guadalentin bearded vulture captive-breeding Centre, run by the Fundación Gypaetus, which is part of the Bearded Vulture Captive Breeding Network we coordinate.  Rin Ran was fostered by an experienced pair and was planned for release into the wild in May. However, these plans were dealt a blow when Rin Ran fell three metres from the nest resulting in paralysis to the legs and injuries to her head. 

Whilst Rin Ran recovered from her leg injuries the staff at the centre noticed she was finding it difficult to find food. She was transferred to a veterinary centre specialising in ophthalmology conditions where she was diagnosed with Morganian cataracts caused by the trauma to the head, Rin Ran was gradually loosing her sight.

Saving Rin Ran’s sight

Unless operated on the cataracts could result in retinal detachment and leaving Rin Ran completely blind and radically reducing her quality of life. The operation to correct this condition had never before been attempted on a bearded vultures and is a costly procedure, so the Fundación Gypaetus decided to ask the public for help to raise the € 2300 needed to perform the operation. 

The crowdfunding campaign launched was expected to run for just a month but the sheer response was overwhelming with the campaign meeting its target in half the time. In total 54 members of the public donated money to pay for Rin Ran’s operation, from small donations of €5 to large ones of €500.  

Operating on Rin Ran

Thanks to the generous support, Rin Ran has successfully undergone the operation to restore her sight. On Wednesday 18 July Rin Ran was taken to Seville to a specialist veterinary centre where she spent two hours in the operating theatre. The operation went well without any complications and she recovered from the effects of the anaesthetic and is now back at the Guadalentin Breeding Centre. The staff at the centre will carry out an assessment over the coming weeks to check on her sight.  

Once recovered Rin Ran will live in captivity at the Guadalentin Breeding Centre where she will contribute through captive-breeding to the recovery of the species across the whole of its former range in Europe. 

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