A CROWD-funding campaign has been launched to support the reintroduction of the world’s heaviest flying animal, the Great Bustard, backed by Birdworld.

The campaign is calling for donations towards a tracking system to monitor the birds which have been released, enabling more to benefit in the coming season.

A target of £5,500 has been set, with backers to be rewarded with prizes ranging from a ‘shoutout’ on Facebook to badges, t-shirts and a personal tour of the project’s aviary.

The reintroduction is being carried out by the Great Bustard Group, an independent wildlife charity, working to reintroduce the species to the UK and to promote its interests throughout its range.

Birdworld has supported the project for many years and for the past two years the park has provided incubation facilities and expertise to hatch the eggs that stock the project with youngsters for release into the wild.

Last year, the first using Spanish Great Bustards, saw 33 birds hatched at Birdworld released at a secret location in Wiltshire and a spring census showed a survival rate of over 50 per cent through the first winter.

This percentage is much better than was achieved when using chicks imported from Russia, and is significantly better than the 22 per cent which may be expected in a natural wild population.

At least 30 more young Great Bustards will be released during 2015, adding to the current total of 26 adult or sub adult birds, bringing the population closer to the point where it will become self-sustaining and can continue to grow through natural reproduction.

For more information visit the website greatbustard.org or to donate to the crowd-funding campaign see crowdfunder.co.uk/help-us-track-the-great-bustard-bird.