Posted on Friday, July 23rd, 2010
David Waters, GBG Director, Suzy Elkins, GBG Marketing Manager, John Chitty, specialist veterinarian, and Ruth Manvell, virologist, are in Russia on a veterinary inspection of the bustards planned for release on Salisbury Plain later this year. David has sent the following update:
"Yesterday the GBG's vet, John Chitty, examined the nine bustard eggs which had failed to hatch this year. There are always a number of eggs which do not hatch and in itself this is not concerning. It is however important to learn when an egg died, or whether it was merely infertile.
John's examination found a mixture of infertile eggs, a few which had died very early on- probably due to the egg getting too hot or cold when the nest was destroyed during cultivation, and two which had badly positioned chicks (this is when the chick grows in the egg, but it's head is in the wrong position and it cannot peck it's way out).
Again, a small number of these is not unusual and whilst always disappointing, it is not overly concerning.
Early this morning we took 2 swabs from each of the Bustards at the Diakovka Field Station. The swabs are taken early in the morning to avoid handling the birds during the heat of the day. They were all also given a full health check by John.
The birds were all in very good health - indeed they are possibly the best birds we have seen.
The swabs will be subjected to a virology test by Ruth Manvell - one of the great supporters of the project. Ruth is one of the world authorities on avian viruses. These tests are needed to ensure the birds have no diseases before they are imported into the UK."