Great bustard reintroduction project gets EU funding boost | Environment | guardian.co.uk
Efforts to reintroduce the world's heaviest flying bird to the UK have received a £1.8m boost from the European Union.
The project to bring the great bustard back to Salisbury Plain has been bringing chicks from Russia to the UK for release since 2004.
The attempt to reintroduce the globally scarce bird, which became extinct in the UK by 1832, had its first major breakthrough in 2009 when the population produced the first chicks to hatch in the wild in this country for 177 years.
But the project has had a hand-to-mouth existence.
The funding from the EU Life+ initiative will cover 75% of the scheme's costs, including monitoring the bustards with GPS satellite transmitters.
The University of Bath, which is part of the partnership to reintroduce the bird, said 16 bustards had been fitted with satellite transmitters to track where they go to feed and roost.
The information will be used to monitor those areas for food availability and predators, and create feeding patches which cultivate the right mix of plants and seeds to provide food and attract the type of insects the birds eat.
The reintroduction project is the brainchild of David Waters, who said: "... Now we have a chance to give this project real wings.
"The funding will provide a properly resourced project, with four new posts, new monitoring equipment and even the possibility of a second release site."