Meet Urú, the pet vulture that flies with paragliders in Ceará

The pet vulture of environmentalist Israel Mendes drew attention on social media last week when he appeared flying alongside paragliders in Serra de Aratanha, in Pacatuba, Ceará.

In videos posted on Instagram, the 7-month-old bird, nicknamed Urú, even lands on pilots’ legs and “takes a ride” during adventures in the sky.

In an interview with O POVO, the environmentalist, also known as Israel Pacaroots, said that he adopted the animal when he was a week old after he was rescued by Instituto Pró Silvestre.

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According to Israel, the bird was found near the Parque do Cocó region, in Fortaleza, and was in a complicated situation since there was no evidence of a nest, so the animal would not be able to adapt to living alone in its habitat.

The person responsible for uniting the life and flight partners was the biologist Sanjay Veiga. “Before he came to me, he [o urubu Urú] passed through the environmental police station and the entire legalization process was carried out so that it could be adopted”, explains Israel.

As a young boy, Urú was already following Israel’s adventures in Pacatuba and was encouraged to fly with paragliders.

“From an early age, I took Urú to the ramp in the box, released him and stayed there watching that movement. He grew up in the middle of it, and as time passed, he grew, creating feathers, strengthening his wings. That’s when I realized he was ready” , explained the tutor.

The first flight with the animal took place in Serra de Aratanha, in the practice of lift, a technique where the pilot uses the momentum of a mountain to glide with the help of the wind.

“He first needed to warm up the wings, strengthen them, and then be able to fly paragliding”, Israel said. On the third attempt, Urú was already able to take off on his own and accompany his tutor through the air of Ceará.

“After creating a bond of love with me, the third time we managed to take off together and to this day he takes flight with me. He lands on my head, on my arm, everywhere. the environmentalist.

According to Israel, the animal does not usually approach many people, and, with the exception of him, it only landed on two other paragliders during a flight. One of those few flight partners is Rafael Pontes, 31, from Fortaleza, a friend of Urú’s tutor.

The record of the two was also successful and was published on profiles on social networks. In one of them, Urú lands on Rafael’s leg and, together, the two enjoy the breeze and landscape of the Pacatuba mountain range.

According to the paraglider, the vulture, which is bred free, considers those who practice the sport as his flock, and the experience of sharing flights with him is “indescribable”.

“I can’t put into words this moment, the way he landed on me in the video was something unexpected. This feeling I could compare to when I take my dog ​​to the beach, which is something I like, but sharing a flight and being able to accompany a bird in the air, of its own free will, is something priceless”, declared Rafael.

With the repercussion of the videos, the adoption of the bird by Israel divided opinions on social networks. Some of the netizens disapproved of the creation of the vulture as a pet, but the environmentalist rebuts.

“I think ‘exotic’ is bringing in something from the outside, an invader. You rescue a vulture that was on the verge of death, found in a place that didn’t adapt and would have to live locked up in a vivarium, it’s not about being exotic. There is no cage here, all Ceará is his backyard”, he defends.

And he adds: “People have a very closed mind, creating a vulture the way I do, for me, is very pleasurable, because flying already gives me a huge pleasure, and even more you can fly with the vulture that is the master in the art of gliding, that’s an amazing thing.”

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