Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 17:56 UK

Vultures go missing from centre

Vulture
The vultures have been at the centre for five years

Staff at a Yorkshire falconry centre are appealing for help in finding two missing vultures named Dumb and Dumber.

The male vulture, Dumb, was carried away by high winds after a public display at the Yorkshire Dales Falconry and Conservation Centre on Saturday.

His female companion, Dumber, has not been seen since April, when she was blown off course in strong gusts.

The birds, which have 7ft wingspans, have been at the centre near Settle, North Yorkshire, for five years.

Centre director Carole Petrie said staff at the centre were doing everything they could to try and locate the vultures and were "distraught" at their disappearance.

"Our falconers have been out every morning and night but there is no sign of them," she said.

Children... come to visit Dumb and Dumber but now the aviary is empty and the kids are upset
Carol Petrie, falconry centre director

"We would ask that anyone who sees a turkey-like bird to get in touch so we can hot-foot it over and check it out."

Mrs Petrie said they believed Dumber could have been carried as far north as Scotland.

Dumb was last seen flying towards Settle.

Mrs Petrie said the birds would come down to the ground to feed on dead animals, like rabbits and hares.

"They are lovely birds, they are part and parcel of our big family here," she said.

"Children in the local area come to visit Dumb and Dumber but now the aviary is empty and the kids are upset."

Anyone who thinks they may have seen the birds is asked to contact the falconry centre.



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