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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 13:53 GMT
Groundhog Gollum learning to fly
Gollum the vulture
Gollum the vulture has finally got the hang of flying
A four-year-old vulture has learned to fly with a little encouragement - and a lot of help from a wind tunnel.

In the wild, vulture chicks have to learn the hard way, forced off cliffs by their parents to either fly or die.

Gollum, the captive-bred African white back vulture, spread his wings and took off in the Airkix vertical wind tunnel in Milton Keynes on Wednesday.

Owner Steve Eales said: "All of his weight came off my hand and it was a pleasure to see him using his wings."

Supported by Mr Eales, who runs a company that teaches people how to get birds of prey to fly, Gollum, who has a 6ft wing span, soared into the 16.5mph current.

Mr Eales said: "It was brilliant. He was really relaxed and took it all in his stride."

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09 May 04 |  Cambridgeshire

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