AR-News: Bid to bring back great bustard
rumsiki at netvision.net.il
Sat Apr 10 11:46:22 EDT 2004
the news portal do not write the date, but it was taken from the latest news
Bid to bring back great bustard
Wildlife experts are to attempt to re-introduce a globally-threatened bird, of which none have been seen in England since 1832.
The great bustard, the world's heaviest flying bird, is now found in Northern Europe and parts of Spain but here it once roamed through grasslands stretching from the West Country to the Scottish borders.
Former police officer David Waters from Wiltshire, who has already invested £40,000 in the project, is planning to bring great bustard chicks from the Saratov region of Russia to the UK where they will be taken to Salisbury Plain for rearing and eventual release.
The aim is to try to re-establish breeding birds in the English countryside.
He said: "The chicks will be one or two weeks old and will be transported by air from Moscow to London in early June."
Adult males, which perform an elaborate courtship dance to attract females, can weigh up to 16 kg and resemble a cross between a turkey and a golden eagle in flight.
The species may have been absent from English fields for nearly two centuries, but there is a West Country beer named after it and a bustard appears as the mascot for the counties of Wiltshire, Cambridgeshire and some Army regiments.
There are also Bustard pubs in Rollestone, Wiltshire and Sleaford in Lincolnshire.
Environment minister Ben Bradshaw said: "This is the first attempt ever in England and certainly the first since the 1970s in the UK as a whole, to re-introduce a species that was once resident here.
"The great bustard has not been seen here since 1832 as a breeding bird and largely as a result of hunting by humans. Eggs are going to be collected in the Soviet Union from nests threatened with destruction, They will be hatched out and brought over as chicks and kept for a while in pens on Salisbury Plain. Then when we are as confident as we can be that they have acclimatised they will be released into the wild."
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