Great Bustard Comeback Boosted By New Chicks

A bid to reintroduce the great bustard to the UK has scored another success with four wild chicks hatching in this country so far this year. It is the second year that the internationally endangered birds, which have been reared in captivity and released on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, over the past few years, have successfully bred.

The large species, whose males can stand over a metre tall (40 inches) and with a wingspan of up to 2.4m (7.75 ft) had disappeared from the UK by 1832 after being hunted to extinction. The reintroduced birds come from Russia, where eggs are rescued from destruction by farming, and are reared by keepers operating glove puppets, simulating the act of being fed by their mothers, before being flown to the UK at about six weeks old.