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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 August, 2004, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Great bustard returns to England
Great Bustard
The bird has not been seen in Britain since 1832
A bird wiped out in England in the 19th Century could return on Monday - after overcoming a last-minute paperwork hitch.

The great bustard is the world's heaviest flying bird and can weigh up to 20kg and stand to the height of an adult roe deer.

A plan to hatch chicks in Russia and release them on Salisbury Plain was due for completion earlier this year.

But complications arose when Russian paperwork delayed their departure.

'Stuffed fox'

The chicks are being flown in for release under a joint project between the Salisbury-based Great Bustard Group and the University of Stirling, working with Russian partners.

The birds were eventually granted an export licence when the UK government stepped in.

After an initial check at a UK airport's animal reception centre, they will have to spend a month in quarantine.

They will then be moved to "soft pens", where they will become accustomed to outdoor conditions while still being safe from predators.

The biggest natural enemy to the bird is the fox, and the bustard group plans to place a stuffed version in the pen to help the birds learn to recognise it.

Russian paperwork foils bird plan
24 Jun 04  |  Wiltshire
Heaviest bird returns to Britain
31 May 04  |  Wiltshire
'Biggest birds' hatch UK comeback
25 Apr 04  |  Science/Nature
Bustard makes official comeback
03 Nov 03  |  Wiltshire
Bustard project takes off
23 Apr 03  |  Wiltshire
Great bustard set for UK return
09 Jul 02  |  England

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