Posted on Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

After starting the project 18 years ago David Waters has handed over the running of the Great Bustard Project to its new Director Ruth Manvell.

After a distinguished career as a virologist, where amongst other responsibilities she managed the International Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza for the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the EU and the World Organisation for Animal Health, and managed the Avian Virology Diagnostic Unit, Ruth is now able to work full time for the GBG. Ruth has been actively involved in the Great Bustard Project since 2006 and has been responsible for the chick rearing this year.

From Ruth Manvell – GBG Director

“I would like to express my thanks to David and Karen on behalf of everyone

for all they have done for such a long time which has enabled us to get to the

present successful position.”

David takes on a new role as Executive Officer, responsible for international representation, project funding, expansion of the project into new areas and countries, and for captive breeding. David will also retain responsibility for the provision of stock for rear and release into the wild.

From David Waters – GBG Executive Officer

“I have every confidence that Ruth will take the project forward and that the Great Bustards will flourish under her leadership. I hope that in my new role I can assist her by taking some of the headaches away, specifically that of project funding.”

The Great Bustard Project has made tremendous progress in the last three years. The UK population is now over 50 birds and the released birds are now breeding in significant numbers. A switch from Russian birds, derived from eggs rescued from destroyed nests, to birds from eggs collected in Spain has freed the chicks from exhausting travel and restrictive quarantine. These facts, combined with all the years of experience gained in Russia, have allowed the quality and fitness of the released birds to improve dramatically. No less than 7 nests were recorded in Wiltshire this year, with most if them being two year old birds from Spanish eggs. Many authorities do not consider it possible for Great Bustards as young as two years to breed, but they do, although it may take a few years of breeding before they are truly successful. This is not a problem for long-lived birds where the males may live for 20 years, and the females through to their late teens. At least two chicks and possibly three have successfully fledged in Wiltshire this year.

Another three years of releases are planned to bring the UK population to around 100 birds and it will then continue to grow through its natural reproduction.

For enquiries, further information or to arrange site visits please contact:


Director: Ruth Manvell, ruth.manvell321@btinternet.com

Executive Officer: David Waters, davidwaters412@gmail.com

Membership: Andy Derry, derry@houseparty32.fsnet.co.uk


Lynne Derry: visit@greatbustard.org, tel 07817 971 327

Categories: Great Bustards


Posted by Paul

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