600 years in the making: Rare white stork chicks hatched in UK for first time since 15th century on West Sussex estate
West Sussex naturalist and author Richard Williamson has shared this photograph of three young white storks being fed by their mother in the oak tree at the Knepp Castle Estate in West Grinstead.
White stork chicks have not been seen in the wild in the UK for over half a millennium, and they represent a huge success for the White Stork Project, which is aiming to reestablish the species,
Richard said: “The female parent was brought from Poland in 2016 to establish breeding storks in Britain.
“This is the first time in 600 years that storks have reared young in the UK. It is hoped that, by 2030, 50 of these birds will be established in southern England.
“This event represents a vast leap forward in wildlife conservation through rewilding and gives us all hope that the tide will be turned at last for wildlife to be brought back from the many extinctions and near extinctions which our countryside has suffered, especially in the past 50 years.
“It takes large and charismatic birds like the stork and the peregrine falcon to concentrate the public mind on how beautiful wild creatures are and how much they can enhance our lives.
“Knepp Castle, with its lake and pastures, should provide a paradise for these majestic birds and we will watch their future with anticipation.”
For more information on the White Stork Project visit www.whitestorkproject.org
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