The Return of the Great Bustard – Once again the Pride of Wiltshire
The Great Bustard, the heaviest flying bird in the world, was pushed to extinction in the UK in the 19th Century, with collecting ornithologists taking the last few. Founded in
1997 the GBG worked for 7 years to prepare the legal and practical obstacles to begin a reintroduction in Wiltshire, where the species has great cultural significance, and a huge military training area excellent for wildlife.
Using first Russian birds, and then eggs from Spain, birds have been released since 2004. The population is now 100 birds and is at a level of breeding that is now self-sustaining, and growing. The GBG is a self-funding, largely voluntary organisation whose three reserves also host many other significant species including breeding Stone Curlew, Partridge and Quail. The GBG has an international school and children’s education programme. The project is the only Great Bustard reintroduction in the world, but other restorations are planned. By David Waters, from the Great Bustard Group.