BEN BRADSHAW, minister for nature conservation, visited Salisbury Plain on Thursday (Sept 9) to see the progress of the Great Bustard chicks there.

The chicks have been imported from Russia in an attempt to reintroduce the heaviest flying bird in the world in the UK.

After successfully completing a month‘s quarantine period, the chicks are now beginning their predator awareness training.

Mr Bradsaw was allowed to see first hand some of the training methods used to develop natural responses from the birds to predators such as foxes.

He said: “I have been taking a keen interest in the chicks‘ progress, and it is interesting to see the predator awareness training taking place. It will be wonderful if these birds can be successfully reintroduced back onto Salisbury Plain after so many years.”

“One of DEFRA‘s main aims is to enhance and protect England‘s wildlife and habitats.

“DEFRA is continuing to work closely with the Great Bustard Group, and I wish them well with their work and will continue to take an interest in this reintroduction scheme,” Mr Bradshaw said.