NASA Attempts to Eradicate Vulture Problem

NASA has addressed many problems in the year since shuttle Discovery last flew, and one involves vultures. During last summer's launch, a vulture struck Discovery's fuel tank. It did not cause major damage. But NASA has set up a "road kill roundup" program to clear as many carcasses as possible from the site in hopes of cutting off the vultures' food supply.

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JENNIFER LUDDEN, host:

The space agency is guarding against another hazard besides foam. Last year, the shuttle Discovery had a close encounter with a bird. It was a vulture.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Entirely aside from the unpleasant symbolism, it could have caused a serious accident, so NASA convened a panel of experts to reduce the risk of hitting them.

LUDDEN: It proposed making the Kennedy Space Center a less attractive vulture habitat. The plan's called Road Kill Roundup.

INSKEEP: NASA removed raccoons, possums, armadillos, turtles, alligators, and other creatures that could become vulture food.

LUDDEN: The roundup involves top minds in wildlife management. Those offering expertise even included a specialist from Disney's Animal Kingdom.

(Soundbite of song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight")

THE TOKENS (Musical Group): (Singing) In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight. In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight.

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