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Flocking bustards thrive in Slovakia

THANKS to the efforts of conservationists, a community of Great Bustards has recently started to prosper in the Sysľovské Polia protected bird territory near Bratislava. Native to southern and central Europe, the Great Bustard has been listed as a vulnerable species and has been declining recently, due to a loss of habitat.

THANKS to the efforts of conservationists, a community of Great Bustards has recently started to prosper in the Sysľovské Polia protected bird territory near Bratislava. Native to southern and central Europe, the Great Bustard has been listed as a vulnerable species and has been declining recently, due to a loss of habitat.

However, steps taken to ensure a friendly habitat for the bird have paid off and the species is now making a comeback in Sysľovské Polia. “During a recent game census we counted as many as 246 birds wintering here, which is the largest number in the last ten years,” Boris Maderič of the Slovak Ornitology Association/BirdLife Slovensko told the TASR newswire.

In winter, flocks of bustards migrate to sites that can provide enough food, tranquillity and safety. Sysľovské Polia has become one such locality, thanks in part to the rapeseed fields that have been planted there in cooperation with a local farming cooperative in Rusovce, a village just outside of Bratislava. Sysľovské Polia became part of Natura 2000, a Europe-wide network of protected reserves, after being declared a Protected Bird Territory.

The Protection of the Great Bustard in Slovakia project, aimed at saving the species from extinction, has been supported by the European Commission within the framework of the LIFE Príroda programme.

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