Woman flies with vultures
It is a bizarre sight! A woman paragliding with a flock of deadly
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
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.”