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Enormous vulture menaces home counties

Do not approach a 'very large bird' called Emmy

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One of the world's largest birds, a Ruppell's Griffin Vulture called Emmy, is on the loose in Bedfordshire after escaping from the English School of Falconry on Wednesday.

The vulturine female, which "got spooked" during a show, has a wingspan of more than three metres. The biggest specimens of Wandering Albatross, the world's largest flying bird, measure 3.7 metres across.

Local news organ Biggleswade Today reports that Emmy took off during a display entitled "Out of Africa". Handler Phil Gooden said: "They've got a tremendous bite, they can cut through muscle and tissue and even bone - not that I think anyone will be able to get close enough to touch her."

He offered the BBC the following expert analysis of the bird's potential whereabouts: "I would imagine she would be in a tree, but she could be anywhere - on a building." Thermals could have taken Emmy up to 10,000ft high; Ruppell's Griffins are known to travel up to 100 miles to feed.

A complacent Mr Gooden said: "She's not really dangerous since she feeds on anything that's dead." He would do well to take note of the airbourne terror raining down on Spain, where a 100-strong colony of starving vultures is attacking live farm animals. ®

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Our home counties falconry correspondent Simon offered his own professional opinion: "They are obviously looking in the wrong place. All Reg readers know the most likely place to locate an absent vulture is down the nearest pub!"

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