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  Released bustards killed by fox
Updated 19 October 2004, 16.44

Two great bustard chicks recently released back into the wild have been killed by foxes.

The baby birds were only set free a month ago, and were part of a big plan to re-introduce the bird into England.

Twenty eight chicks were carefully hand-reared in Russia then flown to the UK and released in Wiltshire.

Even though they weigh in at a whopping 19kg, eight of the bustards have already been attacked, and two more are recovering from leg and wing injuries.

Before their release experts predicted the biggest threat to the birds would be foxes, so keepers planned to train the chicks to be scared of foxes.

They were going to let the chicks see a fox then squirt them with a water pistol to make them realise foxes are dangerous.

But the bustards got too big and had to be released before the training took place.

Still hopeful

Only 12 chicks are still in the wild, but experts are still hopeful they will breed and increase their numbers.

The Great Bustard was hunted to extinction in Britain in the 1830s, partly because its tasty meat was very popular with diners.

It's the world's heaviest bird that can still fly.

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