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Rare bird to be re-introduced into U.K.

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LONDON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- The great bustard, the world's heaviest flying bird, is to return to British skies for the first time in 170 years with a little help from conservationists.

The London Sun said the bird will be reintroduced around Salisbury Plain, Wilts.

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England's minister for nature conservation, Ben Bradshaw, told the Sun: "It will be thrilling if this species could be successfully reintroduced after so many years absent. Achieving this with the right balance is critical if we are to safeguard the existing eco system."

Bradshaw said as many as 40 chicks will be released each year for the next 10-15 years.

Male great bustards measure slightly more than three feet from head to toe, weigh up to 39 lbs. and have an eight-foot wing span.

They were extinct in Britain by 1832, being highly prized for their meat and easy prey because of their size. Wild flocks, however, survived on the flatlands of eastern Europe.

The chicks being released at Salisbury will come from eggs that would otherwise be destroyed or abandoned on cultivated farmland in Russia's Saratov region.

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