Spoon-billed sandpipers: A rare bird odyssey

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British conservationists have moved some of the world's rarest birds into a purpose-built aviary to start a conservation breeding programme that could save a species from extinction.

The population of the diminutive and unusual spoon-billed sandpiper has been devastated by hunting and the destruction of its habitat. There are now estimated to be just 100 breeding pairs remaining in the wild.

To bring the species back from the brink, specialists have brought 13 of the Critically Endangered birds from far eastern Russia to start a captive breeding programme in the UK.

In this short film, Nigel Jarrett, head of conservation breeding at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), recalls the "odyssey" that the birds have been through and explains why these birds are so precious.

The project is a collaboration between WWT, RSPB and Birds Russia.

Expedition footage courtesy of WWT

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