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Sunday, 20 February, 2000, 09:52 GMT
Red kite boost celebrated

red kite The red kite has benefited from remote Welsh breeding spots


The resurgence in numbers of the once-threatened red kite in Wales has proved to be one of the environment success stories of the Nineties.

Numbers of breeding pairs are thought to have risen to 230 from a figure of just two or three in the whole UK eight years ago, according to the Welsh Kite Trust.

The trust examines the rapid growth in numbers with a talk and slide show at the Forest Enterprise Wales centre at Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian, mid Wales.

Recently voted Bird of the Century, the distinctive red kite - with its forked tail and angular wings - is also enjoying renewed interest from ornithologists.

Mid Wales has become known as 'kite country', with 164 pairs recorded in the Cambrian Mountains.

'Last bastion'

Forest Enterprise Wales has set up its own feeding programme at the Nant-yr-Arian centre, which attracts 30 of the birds each day.

FEW recreation ranger Ageliki Politis said: "Wales was the last bastion for the red kite, which suffered hundreds of years of persecution.

"If it had not been for the remote forests in this area it could well have died out completely."

The red kite is recognisable for its five-and-a-half foot wing span, deeply forked chestnut tail, red-brown body and streaked whitish head.

The red kite preys on animals as large as rabbits, and small birds and lives in wooded hills, lowlands and trees in open country.

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See also:
05 May 99 |  UK
Jail call for rare egg thieves
12 Jul 99 |  Sci/Tech
Red kites take wing in Yorkshire
07 Feb 00 |  Sci/Tech
Mixed fortunes for UK birds

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