About the Great Bustard Group

bustard face on

Globally, the Great Bustard is at risk of extinction. Classed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Globally Threatened Species, it’s estimated that there are fewer than 35,000 Great Bustards left in the wild.

Created in 1998, the Great Bustard Group is on a mission to save this beautiful bird, reintroducing it to the wild and campaigning for increased protection from man-made and natural threats

Here’s who we are, what we do and why your support is crucial.

bustards in flight

The Great Bustard in flight was a fixture in the UK until the mid 1800’s, when the breed became a target for Victorian trophy hunters, and its natural habitat was destroyed by farmers. The Great Bustard is a missing piece of UK wildlife heritage, artificially removed from the ecosystem and threatened with extinction.

bustards on ground

The UK remains hospitable to the Great Bustard, with Wiltshire’s rolling downland and arable fields ideal conditions for the breed to thrive – but it needs our support. The global population decline and fragmentation mean a reintroduction programme was our only option.

bustard eggs

The GBG was formed in 1998 to explore the possibility of reintroducing the Great Bustard to the UK. A feasibility demonstrated that the UK offers suitable conditions for Great Bustards. It concluded the reintroduction of the bustard would add to the rich and vibrant ecosystem without harming existing indigenous bird species.

bustard site flood

 In 2004, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) issued a 10-year trial licence we needed to start working. Our first release was in 2004, and they continued until 2019. We have  established a population of over 100 Bustards in the UK, and the population is now breeding at a level to be self-sufficient.

You can read about the incredible work we’re doing on the site, including information on how we sourced the birds for release.

Our History

The good news is, we achieved our goal of establishing a self-sustaining population of Great Bustards in the UK in 2019, but we’ve got more to do.

We need your support to provide a safe future for the Great Bustard, in 3 ways:

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Step 1

Provide more safe nesting areas. This can be by working with farmers, renting or even buying land.

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Step 2

To work with the UK’s statutory agencies, to ensure the Great Bustard receives the recognition and protection it deserves. 

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Step 3

Enlarge and improve our public engagement activities – The Great Bustard is a wonderful flagship species and conservation success story. 

You can donate to us, shop online or visit us in Wiltshire. Every penny we receive goes to supporting the Great Bustard.

Donate Now

The Great Bustard Group is a UK Registered Charity (number 1092515), working to reintroduce the species to the UK and to promote its interests throughout its range.