Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 10 November 2013





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Woman flies with vultures

It is a bizarre sight! A woman paragliding with a flock of deadly vultures!

This is what Kerri Wolter (r), 36, who left her administrative job with a chemical manufacturer to work with vultures in Pretorie, South Africa, is performing for the past 11 years.

Although it may be a fearsome atmosphere for us Kerri seemed to be beaming with joy when ugly looking and ferocious vultures are circling high above the African wilderness. For Kerri it is like home to be paragliding among the wheeling, soaring birds. She can see beyond the scavengers’ vicious claws, scrawny necks, and hooked beaks that tear into animal carcasses.

Talking about her job as a vulture conservator, she says: “When you’re up close and personal with them, you learn things other people don’t understand. They are as individual as humans, with personalities and moods. They might look mean but they are gentle and intelligent. They fly right alongside and are very curious - they just want to play with you. To see them wild and free like that was almost spiritual, a reason for us to carry on our conservation efforts on their behalf.”

Kerri has worked with vultures for 11 years, since leaving her admin job with a chemical manufacturer. She had applied for a conservation post and before she knew it was in charge of a vulture study, despite knowing nothing about the birds of prey.

But nursing a 10-day-old chick through to adulthood changed Kerri. She said: “The passion just grew, it never subsided.” She cares for Cape vultures at the VulPro centre, Pretoria, South Africa with Walter Neser - expert para-glider and fellow conservationist.

The birds live off decaying dead animals - and keep down disease risks for livestock and wildlife.

Yet the carrion eaters are threatened by the loss of the animals they feed on, power lines and poisoning.

Now Cape vultures, extinct in Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Namibia, have been reduced to just 2,900 breeding pairs in the wild. An entire colony was recently wiped out after feeding on the bodies of 100 elephants which had been killed by poachers using cyanide. Kerri, who rears chicks for release into the wild as well as rescuing and rehabilitating injured birds, said: “The breeding population just can’t sustain that kind of loss.” Farmers put down poison for vermin which then has to be flushed out of vultures using water and antibiotics. The birds also break their legs and wings flying into power lines. She said: “We release them if we can, but we also have about 80 birds at our rescue centre who will be with us their whole lives, perhaps 45 years, as their wings are too broken or had to be amputated.”

She said: “People need to understand that vultures are graceful creatures who do us a lot of favours. We need to value them as we do elephants and rhinos. “But poachers don’t care about research or ethics - money speaks louder. Vultures are in great danger and if they go it will affect every single one of us. They lack a voice, they’re the underdog of the animal world and critically misunderstood. Somebody has to speak up for them - they chose me,” she said.

Ohio dad dies after fulfilling his last promise

“This should be a happy day. Wipe those tears off your face. We're not crying down the aisle.”

Scott Nagy, 56 the proud father whispered in the ear of his princess Sarah, his only daughter, at her wedding at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Strongsville, Ohio, USA.

Scott Nagy and his daughter Sarah at the wedding. Scott died three weeks after he attended the wedding on a Gurney.

Scott smiled the entire way down the aisle.

But less than three weeks after fulfilling his promise to walk his daughter down the aisle he bid goodbye forever. A spokesman for University Hospitals in Cleaveland said Scott Nagy died at the hospital.

Nagy was diagnosed with urethral cancer in 2012 and underwent chemotherapy. Sarah got engaged in February and her father was responding positively to his medication and doing well. The wedding was originally planned for 2014.

“He was up and about and we all figured he'll be there, no problem,” his wife Jean Nagy said.

“Then at the end of August, Nagy took a turn for the worse and it became clear that his time might be limited and decisions had to be made about the wedding.

“I told her, 'This is your wedding. Whatever you decide, your father and I will respect. If you truly want him to be there, it should probably he this year’,” Jean Nagy said. “Of course she picked this year.”

Around March, Scott Nagy promised that he was going to be there to walk his princess down the aisle on her wedding day.

“He promised that he'd be there and he was. When I walked out and saw him there, I couldn't think. I couldn't focus,” Sarah Nagy said adding “there was my dad sitting there in his tuxedo, looking amazing and wondering why I was crying.”

When the decision was made to have the wedding in the fall, a team of people mobilised to make it happen for the family.

Jacky Uljanic, nurse practitioner from the hospital, visited the church and reception hall to take care of the logistics for the family. She helped Nagy with therapy to build up his strength. A medical transport group donated the ambulance trip and doctors, EMTs and nurses insisted on working on their day off to help the family.

Nagy was too tired to make it to the reception, but someone donated a projector, which an IT specialist volunteered set up, and he gave his toast via a remote video connection.

“It was so beautiful and the thing was all these people donated their time and efforts,” Jean Nagy said. “They were all there and they just did it. It was so phenomenal and made everyone very happy.”

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