New Director Appointed

Posted on Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

The Great Bustard Group is pleased to announce that Ruth Manvell has been appointed Project Director of the Great Bustard Group.

Ruth has enjoyed a distinguished career primarily working on viral diseases of avian species. From 1987, Ruth managed the International Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza and Newcastle disease for the European Union (EU), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH formally OIE). From 2002, she was the overall manager for the Avian Virology Diagnostic Unit (formerly DEFRA and now an Executive Agency of DEFRA) which included the above International Reference Laboratories. Ruth left DEFRA as a Grade 7 Science Officer, previously titled Senior Scientific Officer.

This work involved dealing with overseas laboratories and the EU; the submission, testing and reporting of submitted samples, import and export testing, notifiable disease testing and advising on licensing i.e. CITES and DEFRA import/export licenses.

In 1999 Ruth was awarded a degree from The Institute of Biology for achievements in the field of Avian Virology. Ruth has authored/co-authored around 100 scientific papers and given presentations in many overseas countries including training workshops for avian diagnostics. Ruth also carried out inspection missions (both laboratory and official bodies) for the EU/OIE for animal trade requirements and disease notifications in many overseas countries.

Ruth has been involved with the Great Bustard Reintroduction Project since 2006, helping with relevant requirements necessary for live bird imports from Russia, including the procurement of samples from Russia and import into the UK and the testing and reporting of the samples to the UK authorities. Since 2011, Ruth has been an invaluable volunteer for the Great Bustard Group and in 2016 managed the chick rearing from imported Spanish Great Bustard eggs.

The role and responsibilities of the Project Director include site, staff and volunteer management with member and public access, licensing and regulatory issues, monitoring and reporting, egg imports, quarantine, incubation, chick rearing and release.

David Waters, whose passion and vision has seen the project through from inception to a position where a self-sustaining population of Great Bustards in Wiltshire is now a realistic prospect, has been appointed Executive Officer and will be responsible for membership and fundraising, PR, egg collection and physical import and representation on International Organisations.

David will also manage the expansion of the reintroduction of Great Bustards to new regions including East Anglia and Lincolnshire where Great bustards were once naturally well established. He will also be responsible for a captive breeding programme for Great Bustards that we have not been able to release into the wild.

The Great Bustard Group has achieved a significant milestone with the establishment of a stable structure of approximately forty wild adult birds, three wild chicks from this season and the imminent release of 14 reared chicks from Spanish eggs imported in 2016 and is confident that, with the further release of 70 reared chicks from imported eggs in 2017, 2018 and 2019, there will, after an absence of nearly 200 years, once again be a self-sustaining population of these magnificent birds on the Salisbury Plain.

The Great Bustard Group is entirely supported by membership subscription, site visits, donations and the proceeds of fund raising events. To underpin the work that we do and ensure the continuity and expansion of the project we need ongoing financial support and sponsorship and welcome new members, all contributions and enquiries in this respect.


David K Bond

Chairman of the Trustees

Great Bustard Group


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


Director: Ruth Manvell,

Executive Officer: David Waters,

Membership: Andy Derry,


Lynne Derry:, tel 07817 971 327


Categories: News


Posted by Paul

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