Population of one of the rarest Asian birds is being restored in England

One of the world’s rarest birds has been given a lifeline after wildlife experts managed to breed a pair in captivity for the first time after trying “everything short of playing Barry White.”

Only around 200 breeding pairs of critically endangered spoon-billed sandpipers remain in the wild, where they make an annual 10,000 mile round-trip between their Russian Arctic breeding grounds and wintering grounds in south east Asia.

Efforts began to establish a flock at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, in 2011 as a back-up to the wild population in case conservationists could not reverse declines of up to 25% a year in time to save the species.

Now seven eggs have been laid by two female spoon-billed sandpipers at Slimbridge, with a further seven potential breeding pairs.

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